For Immediate Release:
February 8, 2023
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Emmitsburg, Md. – Following the recent release of a U.S. Department of Agriculture record revealing that a heifer remained conscious and alert after being shot in the head at Shriver Meats—at least the sixth time in about 21 months that an animal had been ineffectively shot at the facility—PETA fired off a letter today to its owner, David Shriver, calling on him to livestream video footage from the slaughterhouse in order to help prevent more violations of law.
On July 12, 2022, a worker used a rifle to shoot a heifer, who slumped against a fence but kept her head upright, before the worker took a second shot, which stunned her. A federal inspector later observed that the first shot was incorrectly delivered below the heifer’s eyes and noted that Shriver Meats has an ongoing “repetitive nature of inaccurate shots, even from experienced employees.” This includes the following incidents:
- On June 14, a worker shot a heifer in the head three times. She remained sitting, looking around, and bleeding from the head after the first two blasts.
- On June 7, a steer remained sitting and looking around after a worker shot him in the head. It took a second shot to stun him.
- On May 24, a cow was repeatedly shot “due to a misplaced first shot.”
- On April 19, a heifer remained conscious and alert with her head upright after being shot. A worker shot her one more time to stun her.
- On May 11, 2021, a cow cried out loudly after two separate blasts to the head and had to be shot a third time.
“These disturbing reports show that cattle endured prolonged, agonizing deaths because workers failed to stun them with a single shot, a troubling pattern at Shriver Meats,” says PETA Vice President Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling on this facility to publicly livestream its slaughter operations—and reminds everyone that the only humane meal is a vegan one.”
PETA has also asked Shriver to report the personnel involved in the incidents to local law-enforcement officials and reassign those individuals to positions that don’t involve having contact with live animals.
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, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Shriver follows.
February 8, 2023
Dear Mr. Shriver:
Given the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report detailing that a worker ineffectively shot a heifer in the head at Shriver Meats on July 12, 2022—leaving her conscious and leaning against a fence—before a second blast ended her suffering, we ask that you immediately alter operations at your slaughterhouse in order to reduce animal suffering.
A long history of strikingly similar and alarming incidents at your facility underscores the need for significant changes:
- On May 11, 2021, USDA staff heard a bovine cry out “loudly” after being shot in the head with a captive-bolt gun and again after a second, ineffective shot. Finally, a third shot with a rifle ended the animal’s suffering.
- On April 19, 2022, a federal inspector saw that a heifer remained conscious and alert after being shot in the head with a captive-bolt gun. A second shot was required to stun her.
- On May 24, 2022, another animal was repeatedly shot “due to a misplaced first shot.”
- On June 7, 2022, a federal agent saw a worker shoot a steer in the head but fail to render the animal unconscious until a second shot from a rifle.
- On June 14, 2022, USDA staff saw a heifer bleeding and conscious, after being shot twice in the head with a rifle, before a third shot ended her pain.
Will you please publicly livestream video from all areas of Shriver Meats where live animals are handled? Workers might take their duty to handle animals lawfully more seriously if they knew caring people were watching. As the world’s foremost expert on livestock welfare, Dr. Temple Grandin, writes, “Plants [t]hat are doing a good job should show what they are doing.” Your industry often complains that today’s consumers don’t understand how animals are raised and killed for food. You could help by enabling us to observe your workers moving countless individual animals—who value their lives as we value ours—off crowded trucks in all weather conditions, attempting to stun them, slashing or sticking their throats, and bleeding them to death.
At the very least, will you reassign the staff referenced in the federal reports to jobs that don’t involve having contact with any live animals and report the involved personnel to local law enforcement for investigation for possible violations of Maryland’s anti-cruelty statute? Thank you for your consideration.
Vice President of Evidence Analysis