Criminal Probe of Slaughterhouse Sought After Cow Shot in the Head Three Times

For Immediate Release:
April 11, 2019

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Reno, Nev. – PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Wolf Pack Meats, operated by the University of Nevada–Reno. In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the Washoe County district attorney to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker responsible for shooting a cow in the head three times over the course of two minutes before finally rendering the animal unconscious.

“This disturbing report shows that this cow experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Wolf Pack Meats,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the cow who suffered at this facility and compassionate members of the public.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a supremacist worldview. The group notes that other animals have a central nervous system and sense of self-preservation, just as humans do, and that the only way to prevent cows, pigs, chickens, and others from suffering in slaughterhouses is to go vegan.

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PETA’s letter to Washoe County District Attorney Christopher J. Hicks follows.

April 11, 2019

The Honorable Christopher J. Hicks

Washoe County District Attorney

Dear Mr. Hicks,

I hope this letter finds you well. I would like to request that your office (and the proper local law enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file suitable criminal charges against the University of Nevada, Reno’s Wolf Pack Meats facility and the worker(s) responsible for shooting a cow in the head three times on March 14 at the slaughterhouse located at 5895 Clean Water Way near Reno. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:

“[A]t approximately 0833 hours the FSIS Consumer Safety Inspector (CSI) … heard the stunner employee announce he was going to fire the .22 magnum rifle to stun a heifer in the knock box. The CSI … heard the gun fire. At approximately 0834 hours, the CSI heard the employee announce again that the stunning gun was going to be fired again. The CSI looked over at the knock box, heard the shot, taken with a hand-held captive bolt gun, and observed the heifer initially collapse in the knock box and then stand back up. The employee reloaded the captive bolt gun, announced that the gun would be fired again, and at approximately 0835, stunned the heifer for the third attempt.”

This conduct appears to violate Nevada Revised Statute § 574.100. Importantly, FSIS action does not preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouse workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty to animals.

Please let us know what we might do to assist you. Thank you for your consideration and for the difficult work that you do.


Colin Henstock

Investigations Specialist

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind