For Immediate Release:
August 30, 2022
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Windham County, Vt. – Following recently published federal reports documenting that animals were beaten, prodded, deprived of water, and mistreated in other ways at Westminster Meat Packing near Westminster, PETA fired off a letter today to Windham County State’s Attorney Tracy Kelly Shriver calling on her to investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the workers responsible.
According to the reports, on April 16, 2021, a slaughterhouse worker grabbed a lamb by the neck and lifted the helplessly kicking animal about three feet up off the floor. On June 14, 2021, at least three slaughterhouse workers prodded a calf while the animal cried out; struck other calves with paddles, including in the face; and repeatedly twisted one calf’s sensitive tail. On June 21 and 23, 2021, federal staff found cows, sheep, lambs, and/or goats deprived of water. On January 31, they found goats unable to drink from a frozen water trough, and on March 1, they found animals in six pens without water.
“This slaughterhouse is hell on Earth for animals, where calves were struck repeatedly and a lamb was hoisted up off the floor by the neck,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling on the Windham County state’s attorney to step in and help prevent more illegal suffering by investigating and bringing appropriate charges—and is reminding everyone that the only humane meal is a vegan one.”
PETA points out that lambs, cows, goats, pigs, 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 like those at Westminster Meat Packing 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 Shriver follows.
August 30, 2022
The Honorable Tracy Kelly Shriver
Windham County State’s Attorney
Dear Ms. Shriver:
I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against Westminster Meat Packing Inc. and the workers responsible for picking up a lamb by the throat, striking and prodding calves, and denying many animals water at its slaughterhouse located at 52 Seafood Ln., near Westminster. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in reports that the agency recently made available to the public. (See the attached table.)
According to the reports, on April 16, 2021, an FSIS agent saw a slaughterhouse worker wrap his hands around a lamb’s neck and lift the animal up to 3 feet off the floor—at least three times—as the lamb kicked. On June 14, 2021, at least three slaughterhouse workers applied an electric prod to a calf, who cried out. Workers also struck other calves with paddles, including in the face, and repeatedly twisted a calf’s tail (which contains vertebrae).
Federal staff also found cows, sheep, lambs, and/or goats deprived of water on June 21 and 23, 2021. On January 31, goats were found unable to drink from a frozen water trough. On March 1, animals in six different pens were found deprived of water.
This conduct may violate 13 V.S.A. § 352 and does not represent the livestock husbandry practices 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 of this important matter.
Vice President of Evidence Analysis
Cruelty Investigations Department