Steer Repeatedly Shot in the Head; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
November 11, 2020

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Grove City, Minn. – PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Carlson Meat Shop in Grove City. In response, the group sent a letter this morning calling on Meeker County Attorney Brandi Schiefelbein to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker who repeatedly shot a steer in the head on October 20. The steer remained standing and moving for “an extended period” before a second shot caused him to fall—though he remained conscious and looking around—and a third shot finally rendered him unconscious.

“This disturbing report shows that this steer experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Carlson Meat Shop,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the steer 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 cows, sheep, 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.org.

PETA’s letter to Schiefelbein follows.

November 11, 2020

The Honorable Brandi Schiefelbein

Meeker County Attorney

Dear Ms. Schiefelbein:

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 Carlson Meat Shop and the worker responsible for repeatedly shooting a steer in the head—which resulted in the wounded animal enduring an extended period of suffering before it was finally ended with a third shot—on October 20 at its slaughterhouse located at 105 2nd St. N. in Grove City. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:

“An establishment employee positioned himself to stun a beef steer in the restrainer with a hand-held captive bolt stunner. … When the establishment employee went to stun the animal, the first poll stun was not effective, and the shot sounded muffled. After the stun attempt, the beef steer was conscious as [he] remained standing with … heavy breathing and moving back and forth within the restrainer. … After an extended period, the employee attempted a second poll stun. The animal went down but remained conscious, in a sternal recumbent position with rhythmic breathing, controlled movement of the head and eye tracking. The establishment employee then reloaded the same hand-held captive bolt stunner and stunned the animal in the forehead, rendering the animal unconscious. [Federal inspectors] examined the head and found three stun wounds; two of the wounds were approximately one-half inch to the right from the center of the poll area and one wound was in the center of the forehead.”1

This conduct appears to violate Minn. Stat. Ann. § 343.21(1). 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.

Sincerely,

Colin Henstock

Assistant Manager of Investigation

1FSIS District 25 Manager Dawn Sprouls, Notice of Suspension, Carlson Meat Shop, Est. M8948 (Oct. 20, 2020) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/bd8e67e5-1acf-48a9-9a4b-6edb59f9a9c2/m8948-nos-10202020.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

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.”).

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