Criminal Probe of Slaughterhouse Sought After Worker Slits Conscious Sheep’s Throat

For Immediate Release:
February 20, 2019

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Creston, Calif.

PETA has obtained a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Creston Valley Meats (in Creston). In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the San Luis Obispo County district attorney to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the workers responsible for shooting a sheep in the head, cutting the animal’s throat while he or she was still conscious—leaving the knife lodged in the sheep’s throat—and then shooting the animal again.

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

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes that sheep and other animals have a central nervous system and sense of self-preservation, just as humans do, and that the only way to help prevent sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, and others from suffering in slaughterhouses is to go vegan.

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PETA’s letter to San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow follows.

February 20, 2019

The Honorable Dan Dow

District Attorney

San Luis Obispo County

Dear Mr. Dow,

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 Creston Valley Meats and the workers responsible for cutting the throat of a conscious sheep and shooting the animal twice in the head on January 10 at its slaughterhouse located at 3280 Calf Canyon Hwy., near Creston. 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 FSIS Consumer Safety Inspector (CSI) … observed two employees stunning and sticking three sheep in your stunning chute area … one of the employees leaned over into the knock box to stun the sheep. The other employee then started sticking the sheep. When he reached the third sheep which had been stunned approximately 30 seconds prior, he stuck his knife into the animal’s throat and the animal started blinking its eyes and focusing on the movement of employees in the area. The CSI immediately asked the employee to stop sticking the animal. The employee did not cut the throat completely so that the knife was stuck in the throat. The CSI immediately notified the stunner operator that this last sheep was still conscious, and the operator stunned the animal a second time which rendered the animal unconscious. The second employee then completed sticking of the animal. Afterwards the CSI looked at the skinned head of this animal and observed two stunning holes. One hole was improperly situated behind the head ….”

This conduct appears to violate California 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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