Federal Probe of Slaughterhouse Sought After Workers Slit Conscious Goat’s Throat and Repeatedly Shoot Cows in the Head

For Immediate Release:
March 13, 2019

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Moore Haven, Fla.

PETA has obtained a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing at least the third violation of federal law in two years at Gray’s and Danny’s Investment, Inc., in Moore Haven. The report shows that on January 29, 2019, a worker slit a conscious goat’s throat. This incident follows two other recent violations: On December 21, 2018, the owner shot a cow in the head twice, went to find more bullets, and returned to shoot her four more times before she was rendered unconscious—and on August 11, 2017, workers shot a cow twice in the head before a third shot finally stunned the animal. In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida to review these violations of the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act and, as appropriate, file criminal charges against the facility and the workers responsible for causing these animals to suffer.

“These disturbing records show that animals experienced prolonged, agonizing deaths at Gray’s and Danny’s Investment,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a federal investigation on behalf of the animals who suffered at this facility and compassionate members of the public.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, which is a supremacist worldview—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, goats, pigs, chickens, and others from being abused and killed in slaughterhouses is to go vegan.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez follows.

March 13, 2019

The Honorable Maria Chapa Lopez

United States Attorney

Middle District of Florida

Dear Ms. Chapa Lopez,

I hope this letter finds you well. I would like to request that your office investigate and file appropriate criminal charges against Gray’s and Danny’s Investment, Inc., 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 29513 US Hwy. 27 near Moore Haven, staff slit a conscious goat’s throat and shot two cows in the head up to six times, 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:

  • January 29, 2019: “[T]hree goats were presented to Inspection Program Personnel (IPP) for antemortem inspection. … IPP observed as the establishment employee … cut the throat of one goat without stunning it. The owner [of the goats] tried to stop the employee ….”
  • December 21, 2018: ” Albert Garcia attempt[ed] to stun a … heifer with a 410 shotgun. After the first shot hit, the heifer remained standing, continued to have rhythmic breathing, and controlled eye movement as it moved its head to look at its surroundings. A second shot was immediately made, but the heifer continued to stand, have rhythmic breathing, and controlled head and eye movement. At this point, Mr. Garcia ran over to the ATV parked nearby and searched for bullets in the ATV while the heifer remained in the chute. He then came over to the chute, manually loaded the gun, and shot the heifer a third time. The heifer remained standing with rhythmic breathing and controlled head and eye movement. The gun then had to be manually reloaded in order to take a fourth shot, and two more shots had to be administered before the heifer was rendered unconscious. A total of six (6) shots were fired before the heifer was effectively rendered unconscious.”
  • August 14, 2017: “IPP … observed a large cow … moved into the stun chute. The cow … was not restrained in the head catch. The plant employee [shot] the cow with a hand held captive bolt (HHCB) but it remained conscious and standing. The employee [shot] the cow a second time but [the animal] was not rendered unconscious. The HHCB was not properly placed in either of these stunning attempts. … The animal was bleeding from the forehead, moving his eyes, breathing heavy and making faint vocal sounds. A second employee … [shot] the cow a third time with the proper placement …. On post mortem inspection … IPP observed where the HHCB … penetrated the skull three (3) times. … [T]wo (2) points of impact were closer together and created a hole twice the diameter of the rod of the HHCB.”

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’s (OIEA) 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

cc:        Scott C. Safian, Director, ELD, OIEA, FSIS

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