Criminal Probe Sought: Pig, Steer Repeatedly Shot in Botched Slaughters

For Immediate Release:
August 1, 2019

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Ionia County, Mich. – PETA has obtained U.S. Department of Agriculture reports revealing two recent violations of law at Jones Butchering and Meat Processing, LLC, outside Saranac. On July 9, workers repeatedly shot a conscious pig, tried to pry loose a metal bolt lodged in her forehead, and shot her again. And on June 18, workers shot a steer in the head before the gravely wounded animal tried to run away and was shot again. In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the Ionia County prosecuting attorney to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the workers responsible for the animals’ suffering.

“These disturbing reports show that these animals experienced prolonged, agonizing deaths at Jones Butchering and Meat Processing,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the animals 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 pigs, cows, chickens, and other animals have a central nervous system and sense of self-preservation, just as humans do, and that the only way to help prevent them from suffering in slaughterhouses is to refuse to eat them.

For more information, visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Ionia County Prosecuting Attorney Kyle B. Butler follows.

August 1, 2019

The Honorable Kyle B. Butler

Prosecuting Attorney

Ionia County

Dear Mr. Butler,

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 Jones Butchering and Meat Processing, LLC, and the worker(s) responsible for repeatedly shooting animals in the head on June 18 and July 9 at its slaughterhouse located at 7965 Potters Rd. outside of Saranac. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents in the attached reports, which state the following:

  • July 9, 2019: “[E]stablishment employees attempted to stun an approximately 800 lb. sow using a hand-held captive bolt gun while she was confined in the knock box. After the first stunning attempt, the animal sat down on her back legs and was turning her head looking around the room. The captive bolt gun was reloaded, and a second establishment employee attempted to stun the sow. The animal remained conscious after this stunning attempt, seated and looking around the room with the captive bolt gun now stuck in her forehead. The employee tugged twice on the captive bolt gun in an effort to dislodge it from the sow’s forehead. When that failed to work, the CSI [Consumer Safety Inspector] [alerted] [the general manager] of the incident. [The general manager] retrieved a 450 Bushmaster rifle from the office and then attempted a third stun, which was successful at rendering the animal insensible.”[1]
  • June 18, 2019: “A small steer was confined within the knock box. The knock box is equipped with a head restraint system, however, the steer was able to turn around within the knock box and face the rear entry. The employee elected to attempt to stun the animal in that position from above with a handheld captive bolt device. The device was discharged into the head of the animal and the animal dropped to the floor of the knock box. The employee opened the side door to the kill floor and the animal rolled out of the knock box. The animal was then observed to quickly regain consciousness and proceed to run onto the kill floor. A firearm was retrieved but due to the nature of the excited animal, a shot could not be taken. The animal returned to the barn and was driven back into the knock box where it was effectively stunned with the second attempt.”[2]

This conduct appears to violate M.C.L.A. 750.50b. Importantly, FSIS action does not preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouse workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty to animals.[3]

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

Investigations Specialist

[1]FSIS District 50 Manager Paul Wolseley, Notice of Reinstatement of Suspension, Jones Butchering and Meat Processing, LLC, Est. M10176 (July 9, 2019) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/f6985b13-dfbc-4c87-b4ec-69079a339181/M10176-070919-NOROS.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

2FSIS District 50 Manager Paul Wolseley, Notice of Suspension, Jones Butchering and Meat Processing, LLC, Est. M10176 (June 18, 2019) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/add7aedb-7d0c-4a88-b3c0-933e3a5d64f4/m10176-nos-061819.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

3See 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 50 Manager Paul Wolseley, Notice of Reinstatement of Suspension, Jones Butchering and Meat Processing, LLC, Est. M10176 (July 9, 2019) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/f6985b13-dfbc-4c87-b4ec-69079a339181/M10176-070919-NOROS.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

[2]FSIS District 50 Manager Paul Wolseley, Notice of Suspension, Jones Butchering and Meat Processing, LLC, Est. M10176 (June 18, 2019) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/add7aedb-7d0c-4a88-b3c0-933e3a5d64f4/m10176-nos-061819.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

[3]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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