Criminal Probe of Slaughterhouse Sought After Workers Repeatedly Shoot Steer in Head

For Immediate Release:
July 25, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Omaha, Neb.

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report revealing a recent violation of federal law at Greater Omaha Packing in Omaha. In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the Omaha City Attorney to investigate the slaughterhouse and, as appropriate, file criminal livestock neglect charges against the company and the workers responsible for shooting a panicked steer in the head up to three times and causing a bolt to lodge in the conscious animal’s skull.

“These disturbing revelations show that this steer suffered a prolonged, terrifying, and agonizing death at Greater Omaha Packing,” 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 Omaha City Attorney Paul Kratz follows.

July 25, 2018

The Honorable Paul Kratz

Omaha City Attorney

Dear Mr. Kratz,

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 Greater Omaha Packing and the workers responsible for chasing and repeatedly shooting a steer in the head on May 21 at its slaughterhouse located at 3001 L. St. in Omaha. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:

“On 21 May 2018, at approximately 1435 … a single steer was pushed too far forward on the belly belt and … lost its balance, and fell into the catch cage at the bottom of the belt and immediately got back up from the ground. After several attempts from establishment employees to stun with inline captive bolts (no discharges were made), at approximately 1437 the animal became agitated … and proceeded to run with panic in the fenced area surrounding the knock box. At this point, two employees with inline captive bolts proceeded to continue attempting cornering it with no success. When the animal came near the fence line, a third employee, also with an inline captive bolt, attempted to line up a shot, also with no success. [Inspection personnel] heard one captive bolt discharge, but due to the animal running underneath dripping carcasses and accumulating blood on its head up to the point, [the inspector] was unable to discern if contact with a captive bolt had been made. This continued for several minutes, until approximately 1442 when the animal ran back up the conveyor belt, at which point one of the employees lined up a shot with an inline captive bolt. The shot was misplaced, and resulted in the bolt becoming lodged in the animal’s skull. The animal was bright, alert, responsive, and continued to look and move around. It took 30 seconds to 1 minute for the corrective stun to be placed, which resulted in satisfactory unconsciousness.”

This conduct may violate Nebraska Revised Statute § 54-903. 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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