Feds See Cattle Repeatedly Shot, Denied Food for Days; PETA Seeks Criminal Charges

For Immediate Release:
August 25, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Henry County, Ala. – Following recently published federal reports documenting that cattle were repeatedly shot in the head and others were denied food for two days at the Southern Meat Processing LLC slaughterhouse in Headland, PETA fired off a letter today to 20th Judicial Circuit District Attorney Patrick B. Jones III calling on him to investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the workers responsible.

According to the reports, on March 2 a steer remained conscious and looking around after a worker shot him in the head with a firearm. It took a second shot to end his suffering. In January, workers kept two cows for two days in separate pens that “had no feed” all week, and in October a cow remained conscious and looking around after a worker shot her in the head. A second shot finally rendered her unconscious.

“This slaughterhouse is hell on Earth for animals, where a steer and a cow were shot repeatedly and other cows were left in a pen with nothing to eat for days,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling on the district attorney to step in and prevent more illegal suffering by investigating and bringing appropriate charges—and reminds everyone that the only humane meal is a vegan one.”

PETA points out that cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, and other animals feel pain and fear and value their lives, just as humans do. The group is pursuing charges under state law because federal officials haven’t prosecuted any inspected slaughterhouses for acts of abuse and neglect such as those at Southern Meat Processing since at least 2007.

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

PETA’s letter to Jones follows.

August 25, 2022

The Honorable Patrick B. Jones III
District Attorney
20th Judicial Circuit

Dear Mr. Jones:

I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against Southern Meat Processing LLC and the workers responsible for repeatedly shooting cows in the head—and denying other cows food for two days—at its slaughterhouse located at 19990 Hwy. 431 S. in Headland. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents in reports that the agency recently made available to the public. (See the attached table.)

According to the reports, on March 2 FSIS staff saw that a steer remained conscious—and was looking around—after a slaughterhouse worker shot him in the head with a firearm, before a second blast finally ended the animal’s suffering. Similarly, on October 7 a worker shot a cow in the head with a 12-gauge slug, but she remained conscious until a second shot stunned her.

On January 5, a federal agent found two cows without food. They had been delivered to the slaughterhouse two days earlier and were then kept in pens “which had no feed … all week.”

This conduct may violate Alabama Code § 13A-11-14. Please note that FSIS’ action carries no criminal or civil penalties and does not preempt criminal liability under state law for acts of cruelty to animals. Thank you for your time and consideration.


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