Sheep Shot at Least Five Times in the Head, PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
September 14, 2020

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Sacramento, Calif.

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Superior Farms outside Dixon. In response, we sent a letter today calling on Solano County District Attorney Krishna A. Abrams to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker who shot an immobile but conscious and aware sheep in the head numerous times before the animal was finally rendered unconscious. After being shot three times, the sheep’s head remained upright and he or she bled from the nose. Though unable to walk, the animal moved his or her legs in an attempt to get away. The worker applied “several more” shots before the sheep was finally stunned.

“This disturbing report shows that this sheep experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Superior Farms,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the sheep 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 sheep, cattle, pigs, 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’s letter to Abrams follows.

September 14, 2020

The Honorable Krishna A. Abrams

District Attorney

Solano County

Dear Ms. Abrams,

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 Superior Farms and the worker responsible for shooting a conscious, downed sheep at least five times in the head on August 12 at its slaughterhouse located at 7390 State Hwy. 113, outside Dixon. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:

[T]he assigned Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV), went … to check on two nonambulatory sheep. The SPHV observed both sheep were in a sternal recumbent position with heads up and alert. … [A worker] loaded the primary captive bolt gun and back up captive bolt gun to euthanize the condemned sheep in the holding pen. After [the worker] applied the first stunning blow to the condemned sheep, the animal’s head remained upright, and the animal was looking around. [The worker] applied a second stun with the back up captive bolt gun and the animal’s head remained upright. [The worker] reloaded both captive bolt guns and administered a third stun. Following the third stun, the animal’s head remained upright, and [(s)he] voluntarily moved [his or her] legs in an effort to move away. There was blood coming from the animal’s nose. After several more stun attempts, the animal was rendered unconscious.1

This conduct appears to violate California Penal Code § 597(b). Importantly, FSIS action does not preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouse workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty to animals.2

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

Investigations Specialist

1FSIS District Manager Yudhbir Sharma, D.V.M., Notice of Intended Enforcement (Aug. 17, 2020) <>.

2See 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.”).

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

Get the Latest Tips—Right in Your Inbox
We’ll e-mail you weekly with the latest in vegan recipes, fashion, and more!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.