Criminal Probe of Slaughterhouse Sought After Workers Shoot Lamb in the Head Three Times

For Immediate Release:
December 20, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Elkton, S.D.

PETA has obtained a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report revealing a recent violation of law at Elkton Locker and Grocery in Elkton. In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the Brookings County sheriff to investigate the slaughterhouse and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker responsible for shooting a lamb in the head twice, leaving the animal bleeding from a large wound and looking around, before a third shot finally rendered the lamb unconscious.

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

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 sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, and others from suffering in slaughterhouses is to go vegan.

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PETA’s letter to Brookings County Sheriff Martin Stanwick follows.

December 20, 2018

The Honorable Martin Stanwick

Sheriff of Brookings County

Dear Sheriff Stanwick,

I hope this letter finds you well. I would like to request that your office investigate and file suitable criminal charges against Elkton Locker and Grocery, Inc., and the worker responsible for repeatedly shooting a lamb in the head, leaving the conscious animal bleeding from a large wound and looking around, on November 29 at its slaughterhouse located at 127 Elk St. in Elkton. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:

“FSIS Inspection Program Personnel (IPP) observed a lamb standing with its head in the stun chute ready to be stunned. When the front gate to the stunning chute was opened after the first attempt with the .22 caliber rimfire magnum, the lamb was sitting on its knees, still conscious and looking around. IPP observed a bloody wound on the lamb’s head. The company employee made a second attempt with [a] .22 magnum rifle to stun the animal. After the 2nd shot the lamb was still on its knees looking around the room and coughing. The wound on the head was larger with blood coming out of it. At this point another employee was called from the cut room and successfully stunned the lamb.”

This conduct appears to violate SDCL § 40-1-2.3. 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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