Pig Repeatedly Electroshocked—PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
January 28, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Simpsonville, Ky.

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at F.B. Purnell Sausage Co. in Simpsonville. In response, the group sent a letter this morning calling on Shelby County Attorney Hart Megibben to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker(s) responsible for electroshocking a pig six times on her head and over her heart, during which she cried out, tried to right herself, and looked around the barn, before she was finally rendered unconscious.

“This disturbing report shows that a gentle pig experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at F.B. Purnell Sausage Co.,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the pig who suffered at this facility and urging all compassionate members of the public who are disturbed by this cruelty to go vegan and help prevent more animals from suffering in slaughterhouses.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. The group notes that pigs, sheep, cattle, chickens, and other animals feel pain and fear and value their lives, just as humans do, and that the only way to help prevent them from suffering in slaughterhouses is not to eat them.

For more information, visit PETA.org or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Megibben follows.

January 28, 2021

Hart Megibben

​Shelby County Attorney

Dear Mr. Megibben:

I hope this letter finds you well. I would like to request that your office (and the proper local law enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file suitable criminal charges against F.B. Purnell Sausage Co., Inc., and the worker(s) responsible for electroshocking a conscious, crying pig six times on January 6 at its slaughterhouse located at 6931 Shelbyville Rd. in Simpsonville. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:

“A suspect sow in the holding pen of the barn was observed being electrically stunned with the portable electric stunner. … Your establishment personnel applied the wand to the neck of the sow sitting in a sternal position. When the wand was removed for placement on the heart, the sow was observed sensible (conscious eye-tracking). The wand was again placed on the neck of the sow. The sow went lateral recumbent and was again observed sensible (conscious eye-tracking) and rolled back to the sternal position (conscious righting reflex). Your establishment personnel applied the wand 6 times to the head and heart until the sow was rendered insensible. At one point, the sow was heard vocalizing as well.”1

This conduct appears to violate KRS § 525.130.2 Importantly, FSIS action does not preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouse workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty to animals.3

Please let us know what we might do to assist you. Thank you for your consideration and for the difficult work that you do.


Colin Henstock

Assistant Manager of Investigations

1FSIS District 90 Manager Dr. Larry Davis, Notice of Suspension, F.B. Purnell Sausage Co., Inc., Est. M7464

(Jan. 6, 2021) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/cf80ace1-497d-4ad8-b55e-f2f645168655/m7464-nos-01062021.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

2Although KRS § 525.130(2)(b) exempts the killing of animals for food from prosecution, causing prolonged, repeated pain and suffering is not necessarily a consequence of slaughter—as this FSIS action shows—and thus appears to be subject to investigation.

3See Nat’l. Meat Assoc. v. Harris, 132 S. Ct. 965, 974 n.10 (2012) (“. . . States may exact civil or criminal penalties for animal cruelty or other conduct that also violates the [Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA)]. See [21 U.S.C.] §678; cf. Bates v. Dow Agrosciences, LLC, 544 U.S. 431, 447 (2005) (holding that a preemption clause barring state laws ‘in addition to or different’ from a federal Act does not interfere with an ‘equivalent’ state provision). Although the FMIA preempts much state law involving slaughterhouses, it thus leaves some room for the States to regulate.”).

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