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

For Immediate Release:
September 17, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Meridian, Idaho

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report revealing a recent violation of law at Waygood Custom Meat outside of Meridian. In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the Ada County Prosecutor to investigate the slaughterhouse and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker responsible for shooting a conscious steer just above his right eye three times before finally stunning the animal with a fourth shot in the head.

“These disturbing revelations show that this steer suffered a prolonged, agonizing death at Waygood Custom Meat,” 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 Ada County Prosecutor Jan M. Bennetts follows.

September 17, 2018

The Honorable Jan M. Bennetts

Ada County Prosecutor

Dear Ms. Bennetts,

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 Waygood Custom Meat, LLC, and the worker responsible for shooting a steer just above the right eye three times before finally rendering the animal unconscious with a fourth shot to the skull on August 23 at its slaughterhouse located at 2965 W. Amity Rd. outside of Meridian. 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 SPHV [Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian] noted a steer standing calmly in the restrainer. The establishment stunner operator applied a stunning blow with a hand-held captive bolt gun, that entered the skull lateral to the effective stunning region, just above the right eye. The steer remained standing and conscious. The stunner operator applied a second stun with the backup hand-held captive bolt gun to the same anatomical area as the first stun, the steer remained conscious. The stunner operator reloaded the first hand-held captive bolt gun and applied a third stun in the same area as the first two, and this third stun was ineffective, and the steer remained standing. The stunner operator reloaded the backup hand-held captive bolt gun and applied a stunning blow more central than the previous attempts, closer to the optimal stunning target, and the fourth stun application was effective and rendered the steer unconscious. …  The SPHV inspected the skull and confirmed that three of the stun applications were clustered above the right eye orbital bone, and the fourth hole penetrated the skull in the central forehead region.”

This conduct appears to violate Idaho Code § 25-3504, which prohibits subjecting an animal to needless suffering or inflicting unnecessary cruelty. 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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