Feds Find 6 Cows Shot Multiple Times at JBS; PETA Seeks Investigation

For Immediate Release:
March 3, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Plainwell, Mich. – After new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) documents revealed that six cows had been repeatedly shot in the head—leaving them still conscious and in severe pain, as some of them looked or even jumped around after the first shot—at the JBS slaughterhouse near Plainwell, PETA sent a letter today to Allegan County Prosecuting Attorney Myrene Kay Koch asking her to investigate and file applicable criminal charges against those responsible for these incidents, which occurred between April and August 2021.

“These cows were condemned to agonizing deaths at JBS,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Dan Paden. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation into the botched shootings of these animals, who feel pain and fear every bit as much as humans do.”

The USDA also cited JBS six times between June and September after finding other cows downed, stuck, and crying out in distress, including one steer found crammed into a box with another steer standing on top of him. Another cow was trapped by the head between a bar and a wall for at least 19 minutes, and other animals were found stuck on a fence, trapped between a pipe and a plate, and with their legs protruding through failing floors in transport trailers.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Koch follows.

March 3, 2022

The Honorable Myrene Kay Koch
Allegan County Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Ms. Koch:

I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against JBS Foods USA and the workers responsible for repeatedly shooting at least six cows in the head at its slaughterhouse located on 11th Street near Plainwell. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents, which the agency recently made available to the public. (See the attached table. You can find this information in its original format by clicking here and searching for this slaughterhouse’s establishment number, M562M; scrolling to the below dates; and then scrolling to the right.)

  • On April 15, 2021, a worker ineffectively shot an immobile cow in her head before a second shot rendered her unconscious.
  • On May 5, 2021, a worker ineffectively shot a cow in the head twice before stunning the animal. The first shot was apparently misplaced.
  • On May 17, 2021, a worker shot a cow in her head, dropping her to her knees but leaving her looking around. A second shot rendered her unconscious.
  • On June 29, 2021, a worker punctured a cow’s skull with a bolt but left the cow jumping and looking around before a second shot stunned the animal.
  • On July 26, 2021, a worker ineffectively shot another downed cow in her head, after which she looked around—before she was shot again.
  • On August 20, 2021, a worker shot a cow between the eye and ear, leaving the animal bleeding but conscious. A second blast stunned the cow.

This conduct may violate MCL § 750.50, as the documented acts aren’t generally accepted animal husbandry practices involving livestock otherwise exempt from prosecution. Please note that FSIS’ action—which has clearly been insufficient—carries no criminal or civil penalties and doesn’t preempt criminal liability under state law for acts of cruelty to animals. For more details on FSIS’ findings, please contact District Manager Dr. Donald Fickey. Thank you for your consideration and for the important work that you do.


Daniel Paden
Vice President of Evidence Analysis
Cruelty Investigations Department

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind