USDA Finds Calves Repeatedly Denied Water at Oneida County Slaughterhouse; PETA Asks DOJ to File Charges

For Immediate Release:
April 19, 2022

Contact:
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Onedia County, N.Y. – Just-released reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveal that hundreds of days-old calves were crammed into holding pens or left on a loading dock, unable to walk, and denied access to water and/or feed at Gold Medal Packing Inc. near Rome, so today PETA sent a letter to U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York Carla B. Freedman calling on her to investigate and file federal criminal charges against the facility and the workers responsible for neglecting animals.

PETA notes that these reports show that at least 435 animals were found to have been mistreated in violation of federal law—including a pig shot in the head five times—at the slaughterhouse over a seven-month period in 2021.

“Calves were repeatedly crammed into pens or left for dead and unable to access water at Gold Medal Packing, and that’s against the law,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling for a federal criminal investigation on behalf of all the animals who have suffered egregiously at this chronic offender.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. The group notes that cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, and other animals feel pain and fear and value their lives, just as humans do, and that the best 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 Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Freedman follows.

April 19, 2022

The Honorable Carla B. Freedman

United States Attorney

Northern District of New York

Dear Ms. Freedman:

I hope this letter finds you well. I would like to request that your office investigate and file appropriate criminal charges against Gold Medal Packing Inc., near Rome, and its workers responsible for violating the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act at least five times in recent months, as described in the attached, recently published reports and summarized as follows:

  • On March 31, 2021, Gold Medal Packing staff repeatedly shot a pig in the head. After being shot three times, the pig was still alert and apparently walked more than 30 feet. A minute passed before two additional gunshots finally rendered the animal unconscious.
  • On May 25, 2021, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) staff found 150 “bob veal”—calves less than 3 weeks old—in a hallway meant to confine 80 animals. “The animals … were stepping and laying on another. Also, due to the extreme overcrowding, very few animals had access” to water, according to the report.
  • On June 29, 2021, 140 more very young and “overcrowded” calves were found denied water in the same space. Ten other “non-ambulatory” calves had been left without water on a loading dock and inside the slaughterhouse.
  • On September 15, 2021, 132 calves were found without access to any feed or milk replacer after being held at Gold Medal Packing for more than a day.
  • On October 26, 2021, still more calves were found unable to access water at Gold Medal Packing.

The Federal Meat Inspection Act classifies such offenses as misdemeanors. FSIS’ repeated informal warnings are clearly insufficient. Criminal prosecution is in the best interests of both the animals who are killed at Gold Medal Packing and the public. We respectfully ask that you bring appropriate criminal charges against those responsible for these violations. For more details on FSIS’ findings, please contact Michael Osifat, acting district manager for FSIS’ Office of Field Operations. Thank you for your consideration and for the difficult work that you do.

Sincerely,

Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

Cruelty Investigations Department

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