Feds See Pigs Repeatedly Electrocuted, Shot in the Head; PETA Seeks Criminal Charges

For Immediate Release:
August 25, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Obion County, Tenn. – Following recently published federal reports documenting that, among other incidents, pigs cried out as they were repeatedly electrocuted and shot in the head at the Williams Sausage Co. Inc. slaughterhouse near Union City, PETA fired off a letter today to District Attorney General Tommy A. Thomas calling on him to investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the workers responsible.

According to the reports, on November 12, 2021, a worker shot a disabled pig in the head. She “thrashed” and cried out in pain before she was stunned by a second shot. On November 22, 2021, a worker electrocuted a disabled sow, who cried out and jerked backward before a second burst of electricity stunned her. Those incidents followed one in July 2021 in which a sow was electrocuted twice before she was rendered unconscious. In September 2021 and January 2022, federal staff found pigs confined without water—even overnight—and on January 5, they found a sow dead in a hole in the floor.

“This slaughterhouse is a hell on Earth for animals, where pigs cried out in pain and terror as they were electrocuted and shot multiple times,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling on the district attorney general 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 pigs, cows, 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 such as those at Williams Sausage Co. 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 Thomas follows.

August 25, 2022

The Honorable Tommy A. Thomas
District Attorney General
Tennessee Judicial District 27

Dear Mr. Thomas:

I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against Williams Sausage Company Inc. and the workers responsible for repeatedly shooting and electrocuting pigs—and denying other pigs water—at its slaughterhouse located at 5132 Old Troy-Hickman Rd., near Union City. 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 November 12, after a worker shot a disabled sow in the head with a captive-bolt gun, the animal “thrashed,” cried out, and remained conscious until a second shot ended her suffering. On November 22, another disabled sow “loudly” cried out and “jerk[ed] backwards” after a worker electrocuted her. A second discharge of electricity to her head and neck finally stunned her. Last July, yet another sow had to be electrocuted twice before she was rendered unconscious.

On January 7, January 4, and September 15, FSIS staff found pigs confined without water at the slaughterhouse, including overnight. On January 5, a sow was found dead in a 2.5- to 3-foot-deep hole in a pen floor, which she had fallen into.

This conduct may violate Tennessee Code § 39-14-202. The documented acts are not the usual and customary agricultural 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.


Daniel Paden
Vice President of Evidence Analysis
Cruelty Investigations Department

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 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