Criminal Probe Sought: Bull Repeatedly Shot and Shocked

For Immediate Release:
October 23, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

St. Libory, Ill.

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Wenneman Meat Company in St. Libory. In response, PETA sent a letter this morning calling on St. Clair County State’s Attorney James Gomric to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the workers responsible for shooting a bull on September 12 three times in the head with a shotgun and electroshocking him five times between the second and third shots. The bull cried out all five times he was shocked, which were violent attempts at forcing him to reposition his bullet-riddled head.

“These disturbing reports show that this animal experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Wenneman Meat Company,” 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 human-supremacist worldview. The group notes that bulls, cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, and other animals feel pain and fear and value their lives, just as humans do, and that the only way to help prevent them from suffering in slaughterhouses is not to eat them.

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PETA’s letter to Gomric follows.

October 23, 2019

The Honorable James Gomric

St. Clair County State’s Attorney

Dear Mr. Gomric,

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 Wenneman Meat Company, Inc., and the worker(s) responsible for repeatedly shooting and electroshocking a bull, causing the animal to cry out repeatedly, on September 12 at its slaughterhouse located at 7419 State Rte. 15 in St. Libory. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:

“[A] bull was driven into the knock box. A 12-gauge shotgun with slug ammunition was used to attempt to stun the animal confined within the knock box. … The firearm operator discharged the firearm. … [A] second gunshot was heard. The CSI [Consumer Safety Inspector] proceeded to the knock box and saw the bull lying down. An establishment employee was using a battery powered electrical prod to attempt to get the bull to reposition his head. The CSI heard the animal vocalize after each time stimuli was applied. The prod was observed to be applied five times. A second CSI observed the bull was rhythmically breathing, had risen to a standing position, and [was] attempting to move around within the knock box. … [T]he employee discharge[d] the firearm a third time, effectively stunning the bull. Three holes were palpated in the forehead of the animal.”[1]

This conduct appears to violate 510 ILCS 70/3.01(a). 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

Assistant Manager of Investigations


[1]FSIS District 50 Manager Paul V. Wolseley, Notice of Intended Enforcement, Wenneman Meat Company, Inc., Est. M27499 (Sept. 12, 2019)
2See 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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