Federal Probe of Slaughterhouse Sought After Pig Beaten in Face

For Immediate Release:
June 11, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382


PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report revealing at least the seventh recent violation of federal law at E.L. Blood & Son (also known as Blood Farm) in West Groton. In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts to investigate the slaughterhouse for repeatedly violating the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and, as appropriate, file criminal charges against the facility and the workers responsible for the animals’ suffering.

“This disturbing report shows that the latest victim suffered an ‘egregious’ beating at the hands of an employee at Blood Farm,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a federal investigation on behalf of the pig and cows who suffered at this facility and the members of the public who care about them.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes that other animals have a central nervous system and sense of self-preservation, just as humans do, and that the only way to prevent cows, pigs, chickens, and others from suffering in slaughterhouses is to go vegan.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andrew Lelling follows.

June 11, 2018

The Honorable Andrew Lelling

United States Attorney

District of Massachusetts

Dear Mr. Lelling,

I hope this letter finds you well. I would like to request that your office investigate and file appropriate criminal charges against E.L. Blood & Son, Inc. (“Blood Farm”) and its workers responsible for repeated violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which requires that animals be “rendered insensible to pain by a single blow … or other means that is rapid and effective, before being shackled, hoisted … or cut.” At the company’s slaughterhouse, located at 94 W. Main St. in West Groton, its staff repeatedly shot cattle in the head in two of four botched stunning attempts last year, and most recently, an employee egregiously beat a pig in the head with an aluminum panel, as documented in the attached reports by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

According to the reports, federal officials documented the following:

  • May 21, 2018: “[A]n employee [was] trying to load the swine stunning area with one swine. During his attempt at loading, two market swine entered the stunning area. The employee attempted to move the second animal back with the aluminum divider (approximately 2.5’x2.5′ board). The employee was observed using the aluminum divider to hit the animal repeatedly in the head with force. The swine was vocalizing loudly due to the actions of the employee. At this time the IIC [Inspector In Charge] stopped the employee and informed him that his actions were unacceptable. … This extreme handling of live animals is egregious. … Additionally and immediately following the IIC’s decision to take a RCA [Regulatory Control Action], the … employee who committed the act began shouting at and using profanity toward the IIC.”
  • August 30, 2017: “[An] egregious ineffective stunning of a Scottish Highlander steer was observed. The steer was … unrestrained in the knocking area …. The … employee shot the animal with the 20 gauge shotgun and the animal remained standing and alert, as evidenced by moving its head. Epistaxis was also apparent after the first shot. The employee then used the 30/30 caliber rifle and attempted to stun the animal, which did not render the animal unconscious as evidenced by the steer turning its head and continuing to stand/move around … with coordinated movements. The 30/30 caliber rifle was … shot again, and did not render the animal unconscious, as evidenced by stumbling then regaining its footing and continuing to move its head. At this point, another … employee used the 30/30 caliber rifle to shoot the animal. This last shot was successful …. On post-mortem examination … three distinct holes were observed; all were full thickness through the skull. … [T]hese three holes communicate with the sinuses and not the cerebrum. … Within the previous six months, there have also been two ineffective stun noncompliances … on 5/4/2017 and … 4/10/2017 and two humane handling noncompliances issued for lack of water availability … on 7/27/2017 [and] … 3/13/2017.”
  • August 23, 2017: “[T]here was an egregious mis-stunning of a Red Angus steer. The steer was standing unrestrained in the stun area …. The … employee shot the animal with a .20 gauge shotgun and the animal remained standing and alert. The employee reloaded and fired 4 additional shots … to render the animal unconscious. … [B]ecause of the recent Humane Handling history and the severity of using 5 shooting attempts … a [Notice of Suspension] was issued.”

The Federal Meat Inspection Act classifies such offenses as misdemeanors and provides penalties of imprisonment of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000. The fact that inhumane handling persists at the establishment makes it clear that FSIS enforcement actions alone are insufficient to deter future violations and that criminal prosecution is in the best interests of the animals killed there and the public. Given that the FSIS “fully supports the investigation of all those involved in alleged violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act” and that “[i]nvestigators from [its] enforcement division and from USDA’s Inspector General … stand ready to work” with offices such as yours, we respectfully ask that you collaborate with the FSIS Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit (OIEA)’s Enforcement and Litigation Division (ELD) to investigate and bring appropriate criminal charges against those responsible for the above violations.

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

Investigations Specialist

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