Criminal Probe Sought: ‘Frail’ Cow Beaten ‘With Extreme Force’

For Immediate Release:
January 27, 2020

Contact:
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Loganton, Pa. – PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Nicholas Meats outside Loganton. In response, we sent a letter today calling on Clinton County District Attorney David Strouse to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker who viciously beat an “old frail” cow who was no longer being used for her milk as they forced her toward the slaughter floor. A federal inspector saw the employee strike the cow “with extreme force on [her] back approximately 5 to 8 times using a rattle paddle. When the animal did not move, the barn employee began using the paddle as a spear, thrusting the end of the paddle into the cow[‘s] stomach approximately 3 to 4 times.”

“This disturbing report shows that this gentle, elderly cow experienced a prolonged, agonizing attack at Nicholas 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 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, bulls, 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.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to the district attorney follows.

January 27, 2020

The Honorable David A. Strouse

District Attorney of Clinton County

Dear Mr. Strouse,

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 Nicholas Meats and the worker responsible for beating an elderly, frail cow on December 20, 2019, at its slaughterhouse located at 508 East Valley Rd. outside of Loganton. 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 federal inspector] observed a barn employee trying to drive an old frail Holstein dairy cow weighing approximately 1000lbs into … the stunning area. The barn employee was striking the animal with extreme force on [her] back approximately 5 to 8 times using a rattle paddle. When the animal did not move, the barn employee began using the paddle as a spear, thrusting the end of the paddle into the cow[‘s] stomach approximately 3 to 4 times. Again, the cow did not move. At previous DVMS [District Veterinary Medical Specialist] visits, the DVMS reminded the establishment that using the paddle as a spear was noncompliant with Humane Handling. Finally, the barn employee struck the animal with his hand into the side of [her] stomach approximately 2 to 3 times.”[1]

This conduct appears to violate 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5533(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.

Sincerely,

Colin Henstock

Assistant Manager of Investigations

[1]FSIS District 60 Manager Dr. Lynda E. Lilyestrom, Notice of Suspension, Nicholas Meats, Est. 4465 (Dec. 20, 2019) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/ecbc5681-676b-4c64-b2ca-85bb5cf9bab2/4465-NOS-12202019.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

[1]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.”).

[1]FSIS District 60 Manager Dr. Lynda E. Lilyestrom, Notice of Suspension, Nicholas Meats, Est. 4465 (Dec. 20, 2019) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/ecbc5681-676b-4c64-b2ca-85bb5cf9bab2/4465-NOS-12202019.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

[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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