Criminal Probe Sought: Pig Shot Five Times in Head

For Immediate Release:
January 9, 2020

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Rockbridge County, Va. – PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Donald’s Meat Processing outside of Lexington. In response, we sent a letter today calling on Rockbridge County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jared Moon to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker responsible for repeatedly shooting a conscious pig in the head as the animal cried out in pain. It wasn’t until a fifth shot was directed near the pig’s eyes that his or her suffering was finally ended.

“This disturbing report shows that this pig experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Donald’s Meat Processing,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the pig 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 pigs, sheep, bulls, cows, 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 Moon follows.

January 9, 2020

The Honorable Jared Moon

Rockbridge County Commonwealth’s Attorney

Dear Mr. Moon,

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 Donald’s Meat Processing and the worker(s) responsible for repeatedly shooting a pig in the head while the animal cried out in pain on November 26, 2019, at its slaughterhouse located at 194 McCorkle Dr. outside of Lexington. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:

“[I]nspection program personnel (IPP) observed an establishment employee make five attempts to stun a market hog. The first three ineffective stuns were made with a .22 Magnum rifle using hollow point bullets. After each of the first three attempts, the animal remained conscious, standing or laying sternal, vocalized and appeared distressed. The employee then switched ammunition and used bullets with a full-metal jacket for the fourth attempt at stunning, which was also unsuccessful. The hog continued to lay sternal and vocalize in distress. The employee then switched back to a hollow point bullet and made a fifth stunning attempt which successfully rendered the hog unconscious. … Upon inspection of the skull, four shots were placed incorrectly (too high up on the forehead at the thickest part of the skull) and stopped in bone. The final fifth shot was lower and slightly above the eyes on the midline.”[1]

This conduct appears to violate Va. Code § 3.2-6570. 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 80 Manager Todd Furey, Notice of Suspension, Donald’s Meat Processing (Nov. 26, 2019) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/5d90d032-b534-49e7-a321-5da1d7de6d7e/m39968-donald-nos-112619.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

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.”).

[1]FSIS District 80 Manager Todd Furey, Notice of Suspension, Donald’s Meat Processing (Nov. 26, 2019) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/5d90d032-b534-49e7-a321-5da1d7de6d7e/m39968-donald-nos-112619.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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