Feds See Cattle Shot Repeatedly at Kaua’i Slaughterhouse; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
March 14, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Lihue, Hawaii

After obtaining U.S. Department of Agriculture documents revealing that workers at Sanchez Slaughterhouse near Wailua repeatedly shot at least four cattle in the head, PETA sent a letter this morning to Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Like calling on her to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against those responsible.

In the reports from May through September 2021, federal inspectors detail how workers attempted to stun a cow, a heifer, a steer, and a bull by shooting them up to four times each—in one case, causing the cow to “let out audible groans” and, in another, leading to the heifer “kicking the door of the stunning box, vocalizing, and exhibiting signs of distress” before she was electroshocked and shot again. The reports also note that several cows had no access to water in May. Even after a federal agent reported the issue to staff, cows were again found without water available to them later that month.

“If a person were to repeatedly shoot a dog or cat in the head, people would rightfully demand that charges be filed, and cows are also protected by law,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Dan Paden. “Cows feel pain and fear just like the dogs and cats who share our homes, and PETA is calling for a criminal investigation into the suffering inflicted upon these animals.”

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 Like follows.

March 14, 2022

The Honorable Rebecca V. Like

Prosecuting Attorney, County of Kaua’i

Dear Ms. Like:

I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against Sanchez Slaughterhouse and the workers responsible for repeatedly shooting at least four cattle in the head at its slaughterhouse located at 873 Kamalu Rd., near Wailua. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents in a report that 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, M12455; scrolling to the dates below; and then scrolling to the right.)

  • On May 15, 2021, an FSIS inspector heard a cow groaning after being shot in the head with a rifle. A worker had to retrieve more ammunition before a second shot ended her suffering.
  • On May 29, 2021, a bull remained standing after being shot in the head with a rifle. Again, a worker had to retrieve more ammunition before a second shot rendered him unconscious.
  • On June 5, 2021, a federal agent saw a worker ineffectively shoot a steer three times in the head with a rifle before finally ending his suffering with a fourth blast. The inspector found that three shots to the skull had been misplaced.
  • On September 18, 2021, a heifer cried out and exhibited “signs of distress” after an ineffective shot to the head. A worker electroshocked her before another shot to the head, with a rifle, ended her suffering.

This conduct may violate HRS § 711-1109. 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. Robert Reeder. Thank you for your consideration and for the important work that you do.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

Cruelty Investigations Department

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