Feds See Cows Repeatedly Shot, Denied Water; PETA Seeks Criminal Charges

For Immediate Release:
September 7, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Westmoreland County, Pa. – Following recently published federal reports documenting that cows were repeatedly shot in the head, while others were denied water at the Jamison Packing slaughterhouse near Derry, PETA fired off a letter today to Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole W. Ziccarelli calling on her to investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the workers responsible.

According to the reports, on March 29 a heifer remained conscious after being shot in the head with a pistol. It took a second shot to end her suffering. On January 19, a steer similarly remained conscious and looking around through two attempted shots to the head before a third attempt finally stunned him. And on July 30, 2021, a cow remained conscious after being shot in the head, only lapsing into unconsciousness after a second shot. In addition, on March 1, 2022, three cattle were found without access to water.

“This slaughterhouse is hell on Earth for animals, where cattle remained conscious and in agony after they were shot in the head and others were parched for lack of water,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling on the Westmoreland County 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, chickens, sheep, 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 Jamison 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 Ziccarelli follows.

September 7, 2022

The Honorable Nicole W. Ziccarelli
Westmoreland County District Attorney

Dear Ms. Ziccarelli:

I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against those responsible for repeatedly shooting three cows in the head—and denying other cows water—at Jamison Packing, located at 1034 Industrial Blvd., near Derry. 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 29 an FSIS agent saw a heifer who was still conscious after being shot in the head with a pistol—a second shot ended her pain. On January 19, a worker shot a steer in the head with a captive-bolt gun but failed to stun him. He was looking around until the third attempt to stun him—with a pistol—was finally effective. On July 30, 2021, a worker had to shoot a cow twice in the head with a captive-bolt gun before rendering her unconscious. Finally, on March 1 three cows were found deprived of water.

This conduct may violate Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 5533 and § 5532. The documented acts are not the normal agricultural activities otherwise exempt from prosecution. 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.


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“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

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