Criminal Probe of Slaughterhouse Sought After Seven USDA Violations for Botched Slaughter Attempts

For Immediate Release:
May 9, 2019

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Athol, Mass.

PETA has obtained U.S. Department of Agriculture reports revealing that at least seven recent violations of law took place at Adams Farm in Athol—including on April 17, when a pig’s throat was cut, causing the animal to cry out before a worker shot the animal in the head. On April 12, a worker shot a sow three times in the head before she was rendered unconscious—and the report notes that the slaughterhouse “has five [additional] ineffective stunning Noncompliance Records documented in the previous 90 Days.” In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the Northwestern district attorney to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker(s) responsible for causing the animals to suffer.

“These disturbing reports show that pigs and other animals experienced prolonged, agonizing deaths at Adams Farm,” 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 pigs, cows, chickens, and others from suffering in slaughterhouses is to go vegan.

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PETA’s letter to Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan follows.

May 9, 2019

The Honorable David E. Sullivan

Northwestern District Attorney

Dear Mr. Sullivan,

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 Adams Farm Slaughterhouse, LLC, and the worker(s) responsible for botching the killing of animals on at least seven recent occasions—resulting in severely wounded animals crying out as they were repeatedly shot in the head and being conscious as they bled out—at its slaughterhouse located at 854 Bearsden Rd. in Athol. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents in the attached reports, which state the following:

April 18, 2019: “On April 17, 2019 … the FI [Food Inspector] observed a swine regain sensibility after stunning and sticking. The swine was placed into the electrical kill stun box on the kill floor. A slaughter floor employee stunned the pig with the electrical stunning wand …. The animal was then removed from the stun box and stuck with the sticking knife for bleeding. Shortly after sticking, the animal regained consciousness as evidenced by it beginning to vocalize. The slaughter employee immediately utilized the loaded back-up stunner and effectively stunned the animal.”

April 12, 2019: “A sow in the stun box was shot by an employee with a .357 rifle. The animal vocalized and remained standing and alert. A second shot was attempted with the rifle, but the sow remained standing and moving in the stun box. A third shot attempt with the rifle produced unconsciousness …. The Establishment … has five ineffective stunning Noncompliance Records documented in the previous 90 [d]ays.”

This conduct appears to violate M.G.L.A. 272 § 77. 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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