Criminal Probe Sought After Bull Shot in Head 10 Times

For Immediate Release:
July 9, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Fort Valley, Ga.

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Fort Valley State University’s Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center. In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the Macon Judicial Circuit district attorney’s office to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and those responsible for shooting a bull in the head 10 times with a captive-bolt gun before the animal was finally rendered unconscious.

“These disturbing reports show that this bull experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Fort Valley State University,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the bull who suffered at this facility and urging all compassionate members of the public who are disturbed by this cruelty to go vegan and help prevent more animals from suffering in slaughterhouses.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a supremacist worldview. The group 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 Macon Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Neil Halvorson follows.

July 9, 2019

Neil Halvorson

Assistant District Attorney

Macon Judicial Circuit

Dear Mr. Halvorson,

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 the Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center and those responsible for shooting a bull in the head 10 times on June 26 at its slaughterhouse located at 1005 State University Dr. in Fort Valley. 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 Inspector In Charge (IIC) … observed that it took ten (10) attempts with a hand held captive bolt (HHCB) to effectively render a bull unconscious before [he] was shackled, hoisted and bled. … On postmortem examination of the head, ten (10) distinct points of contact on the skull were identified.”[1]

This conduct appears to violate O.C.G.A. § 16-12-4(b)(1). Importantly, FSIS action does not preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouse workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty to animals.[2]

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

[1]FSIS District 85 Manager Dr. Phyllis Adams, Notice of Suspension, Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center, Est. M21741 (June 26, 2019)

[2]See Nat’l. Meat Assoc. v. Harris, 132 S. Ct. 965, 974 n.10 (2012) (“. . . States may exact civil or criminal penalties for animal cruelty or other conduct that also violates the [Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA)]. See [21 U.S.C.] §678; cf. Bates v. Dow Agrosciences, LLC, 544 U.S. 431, 447 (2005) (holding that a preemption clause barring state laws ‘in addition to or different’ from a federal Act does not interfere with an ‘equivalent’ state provision). Although the FMIA preempts much state law involving slaughterhouses, it thus leaves some room for the States to regulate.”).

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