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

For Immediate Release:
October 17, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Cobleskill, N.Y.

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report revealing a recent violation of law at the Meat and Fisheries Processing Laboratory at SUNY Cobleskill. In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the Chief of University Police to investigate the slaughterhouse and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the individual(s) responsible for ineffectively shooting a conscious steer twice in the head before finally rendering him unconscious with a third shot.

“These disturbing revelations show that this steer suffered a prolonged, agonizing death at SUNY Cobleskill,” 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 SUNY Cobleskill Chief of University Police Thomas Rehberg follows.

October 17, 2018

Chief Thomas Rehberg

SUNY Cobleskill University Police

Dear Chief Rehberg,

I hope this letter finds you well. I would like to request that your office investigate and file suitable criminal charges against SUNY Cobleskill’s Meat & Fisheries Processing Laboratory and the individual(s) responsible for repeatedly shooting a steer in the head on September 21 at its slaughterhouse located at 114 Rockland Ln. 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 steer was restrained in a head restraint and a student attempted to stun the steer with a hand held captive bolt. The captive bolt was discharged on the steer’s head, but the steer remained standing and alert. A second captive bolt was immediately applied to the steer’s head, however, the steer remained standing and alert. A third attempt with a captive bolt was performed and the steer was rendered unconscious …. Upon post mortem, [redacted] observed three distinct holes in the skull to verify that the captive bolt discharged three times.”

This conduct appears to violate NY Agriculture & Markets Law § 353. 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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