Criminal Probe of Slaughterhouse Sought After Cow Trampled, Shocked

For Immediate Release:
November 26, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Fresno, Calif.

PETA has obtained a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report revealing a recent violation of law at Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. near Fresno. In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the Fresno County district attorney to investigate the slaughterhouse and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the workers responsible for driving up to 15 cows over a fallen cow, then electroshocking the downed animal to force her to stand up.

“These disturbing revelations show some of the pain and fear that this cow endured in her final moments at Cargill Meat Solutions,” 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 the members of the public who care about her.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes that other animals feel fear and pain and fight for their lives, 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 Fresno County District Attorney Lisa A. Smittcamp follows.

November 26, 2018

The Honorable Lisa A. Smittcamp

Fresno County District Attorney

Dear Ms. Smittcamp,

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 Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. and the workers responsible for forcing 10 to 15 cows to trample a downed, kicking cow and then electroshocking the downed animal on her lower back on November 7 at its slaughterhouse located at 3115 S. Fig Ave. outside of Fresno. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:

“[T]he Consumer Safety Inspector (CSI) observed a skinny dairy cow that was struggling to walk and moving slowly. The CSI saw it fall to the pen floor as it was turning around the pen corner. The floor where the cow fell has a circular concrete area which is elevated by about 5 inches. The CSI, who was located right outside the pen, saw two employees in the pen who were driving the herd. As they followed behind the herd, they were facing each other and talking, and not watching the cows they were herding as they walked forward. The CSI immediately began to wave arms and yell loudly at these two plant employees to tell them what had occurred, but the employees did not notice the CSI and kept talking to each other and walking. Meanwhile, approximately ten to fifteen cattle walked over the fallen cow, which was blinking and kicking in its attempts to move. The CSI continued to wave arms and yell to get the employees’ attention, but the employees continued to not notice until the remaining cattle had all passed over this cow. … [T]he employees used the electric prod once on the lumbar area, which brought the cow to stand up. The cow then slowly walked to where the rest of the cattle were standing in the alleyway.”

This conduct appears to violate Cal. Penal Code § 597(b). 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

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