Criminal Probe of Slaughterhouse Sought After Steer Shot Repeatedly, Left Bleeding

For Immediate Release:
October 3, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Sumner, Ill.

PETA has obtained a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report revealing a recent violation of federal law at Countrystyle Meats outside of Sumner. In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the Lawrence County State’s Attorney to investigate the slaughterhouse and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker responsible for the shooting a steer in the head twice, causing the conscious animal to cry out and bleed from the nasal cavity, until a third shot finally rendered him unconscious.

“These disturbing revelations show that this steer suffered a prolonged, agonizing death at Countrystyle Meats,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the steer who suffered at this facility and the members of the public who care about him.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—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 Lawrence County State’s Attorney Michael Strange follows.

October 3, 2018

The Honorable Michael Strange

Lawrence County State’s Attorney

Dear Mr. Strange,

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 Countrystyle Meats and the worker responsible for repeatedly shooting a steer in the head while the wounded animal cried out on August 28 at its slaughterhouse located at 2129 Fillmore Ln. outside of Sumner. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:

“The steer was secured with a head gate for restraint. The establishment employee then shot the animal with a .22 caliber pistol. The [Consumer Safety Inspector] observed the attempt to stun the animal was not effective with the steer observed to remain standing, vocalizing, and looking around with its head still in the head gate. The establishment employee retrieved a 20 gauge shotgun from the wall next to the head gate of the knock box to stun the animal. The shotgun was loaded with deer slug ammunition. The second shot was not effective at rendering the animal insensible. At this time the animal was observed to remain standing, vocalizing, and did not go down. Blood was observed running out of the nasal cavity. The establishment employee proceeded to a room located approximately 15 feet away to retrieve another deer slug for the 20 gauge shotgun. He reloaded the shotgun and shot the animal for a third time.”

This conduct appears to violate 510 ILCS 70/3.01(a). 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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