Criminal Probe Sought: Cow Repeatedly Shot in Head

For Immediate Release:
May 26, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Lima, Ohio

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Keystone Meats, Inc., outside Lima. In response, we sent a letter this morning asking Lima Chief Prosecutor E. Richard Eddy to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the “inexperienced” and “untrained” worker who botched two attempts to stun a cow with shots to the head, leaving the wounded animal looking around the room, before the plant manager approached and rendered her unconscious with a third and final shot.

“This disturbing report shows that this cow—who had already been used up for the milk intended for her calves before the dairy industry discarded her for slaughter—experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Keystone Meats,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the cow who suffered at this facility and is 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 cows, sheep, bulls, 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 Eddy follows.

May 26, 2020

The Honorable E. Richard Eddy II

Chief Prosecutor

City of Lima

Dear Mr. Eddy,

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 Keystone Meats Inc. and the worker responsible for repeatedly shooting a cow in the head while the animal remained conscious and looking around the room on May 8 at its slaughterhouse located at 3585 Harding Hwy. outside Lima. 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 Consumer Safety Inspector (CSI) observed an establishment employee, who was being trained to stun livestock, attempt to stun a dairy cow in the knock box with a captive bolt gun. After the first stunning attempt … [t]he cow was in sternal recumbency with her head held up and was looking around and blinking. The stunning operator conferred with the CSI and then climbed back up on the stunning platform and attempted a second captive bolt stun. … [A]fter the second stunning attempt was administered, the CSI observed that the animal was still in sternal recumbency with her head held up, and she was looking around and blinking. At this point, the plant manager, who had been called to the area by the CSI, climbed into the knock box with the cow and shot her with a .22 caliber pistol … [t]he head was later examined, and three distinct holes in the skull were noted.”1

This conduct appears to violate Ohio Revised Code § 959.13(A)(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

Assistant Manager of Investigations

1FSIS District 50 Acting District Manager Dr. Karnail Mudahar, Notice of Suspension, Keystone Meats Inc. (May 8, 2020)

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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