Criminal Probe of Slaughterhouse Sought After Workers Botch Five Stunning Attempts in Four Months

For Immediate Release:
September 11, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Tama County, Iowa

PETA has obtained a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report revealing that workers at Iowa Premium in Tama shot a steer in the head three times while the injured animal cried out, which was the fifth recent botched killing of a cow at the facility. In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the Tama Chief of Police to investigate the slaughterhouse and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the workers responsible for the botched stunning incidents on August 8, August 7, August 1, and May 10 of this year.

“These disturbing revelations show that this steer—if not four others—suffered a prolonged, agonizing death at Iowa Premium,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of all cows who suffered at this facility and the members of the public who care about them.”

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 Tama Chief of Police Jason Bina follows.

September 11, 2018

Chief Jason Bina

Tama Police Department

Dear Chief Bina,

I hope this letter finds you well. I would like to request that your office investigate and file suitable criminal charges against Iowa Premium, LLC, and the worker(s) responsible for ineffectively stunning at least five cattle since May, including a steer whom a worker shot in the head three times on August 8 and who cried out and was left injured by the failed shots, at its slaughterhouse located at 3337 L Ave. in Tama. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents in the attached report, which states the following:

“[T]he SPHV [Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian] observed [a facility supervisor] … attempt to render a stun to the forehead of a steer; the pneumatic device audibly discharged making contact with the head and resulting in a laceration on the forehead of the steer. The laceration was in the right central portion of the forehead. This did not render the animal insensible as the steer threw its head up, vocalized, was still breathing and evading contact from the supervisor who was stunning by moving his head and shoulders laterally back and forth. [The supervisor] attempted to render a second stun to the forehead of the steer …. The device audibly discharged, making contact with the forehead and resulting in a second laceration laterally and more central to the first laceration. At this time the animal was still sensible as it was still breathing, blinking, and trying to avoid further contact with the supervisor who was stunning. [A second employee] took the hand-held captive bolt device and rendered a stun attempt … that did render the animal insensible. . . .

Below are previous ineffective stunning humane handling non-compliances that resulted in a noncompliance record ….

May 10, 2018 … an ineffective stun of a bovine using the pneumatic captive bolt gun. …

August 01, 2018 … an ineffective stun of a steer using the hand-held captive bolt gun. …

August 07, 2018 … an ineffective stun of a steer using the pneumatic captive bolt gun. …

August 08, 2018 … an ineffective stun of a steer using the pneumatic captive bolt gun.”

This conduct appears to violate Iowa Code § 717.2(1)(c). 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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