Criminal Probe of Slaughterhouse Sought After Lame Cows Shot Multiple Times in the Head

For Immediate Release:
March 14, 2019

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Burley, Idaho

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing recent violations of law at Ida-Beef, which is just outside Burley, Idaho. In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the Cassia County prosecuting attorney to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the workers responsible for shooting a downed cow three times in the head before the animal was rendered unconscious and for shooting a second lame cow twice in the head.

“These disturbing revelations show that these cows experienced prolonged, agonizing deaths at Ida-Beef,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the animals 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 being abused and killed in slaughterhouses is to go vegan.

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PETA’s letter to Cassia County Prosecuting Attorney Douglas G. Abenroth follows.

March 14, 2019

The Honorable Douglas G. Abenroth

Prosecuting Attorney

Cassia County

Dear Mr. Abenroth,

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 IDA-Beef LLC and the worker(s) responsible for repeatedly shooting two downed cows in the head on January 10 at its slaughterhouse located at 729 S. 600 W. outside of Burley. 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 CSI [Consumer Safety Inspector] … observed two non-ambulatory cattle in the corner of the pen. The black cow was facing the opposite position of the brown cow, laying end to end with each other. … [Redacted] returned to the pens with a captive bolt stunner to euthanize the black cow. The first attempt at stunning the cow sounded muffled and weak. At this time [redacted] checked the consciousness of the cow and determined it needed a second [shot]. [Redacted] left the pen area and went inside to retrieve different cartridges. … At this time, it was apparent the black cow was still conscious. [The CSI] observed the head was raised straight up; there was steam coming from the black cow’s nostrils; and rhythmic breathing could be observed. Upon returning, [redacted] delivered a second [shot]. The head of the cow finally dropped. After a few moments, the head of the black cow started to raise straight back up again. [Redacted] delivered a third [shot] to the black cow.  … [Redacted] made the decision to euthanize the brown cow that was still pinned up against the rail of the pen by the now deceased black cow. … [The CSI] observed a plant employee deliver a captive bol[t] [shot] to the brown cow. … [A]pproximately 5 minutes later … the brown cow raised its head off the carcass of the black cow, straight up above it. … [The CSI] immediately notified [redacted] that the brown cow appeared to be exhibiting signs of returning to consciousness. … A trail of blood was streaming down the brown cow’s face. As the plant employee moved into the pen with the captive bol[t] stunner, the brown cow raised its head once more straight up. … A second [shot] was delivered to the brown cow and its head fell and rested on the black cow once more.”

This conduct appears to violate Idaho Code § 25-3504. 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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