Scores of Calves Dead on Arrival at Ida Meats: PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

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For Immediate Release:
December 5, 2022

Contact:
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Rupert, Idaho – Following just-released federal reports documenting the arrival of hundreds of dead and dying calves, among other violations, at the Ida Meats LLC slaughterhouse outside Rupert, PETA sent a letter today to Minidoka County Prosecuting Attorney Lance Stevenson calling on him to investigate and file appropriate criminal charges against those responsible.

According to the reports, on January 3 a federal inspector found that calves who had been deprived of water were dead or “near death.” On February 28, an inspector heard a calf crying out from beneath a pile of dead animals, and a worker pulled the calf out of the pile by the ears. And on 13 days from April 4 to June 30—in temperatures reaching as low as 29 degrees—a total of 251 calves hauled to the facility died during transport or arrived in such poor physical condition that they had to be killed prior to slaughter. One report calls the mortality rate “consistently high” and notes “concern over fitness for travel determinations.”

“Hundreds of calves have suffered or died en route to Ida Meats, while others have evidently died of thirst or been buried alive under a pile of dead animals,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “These reports paint a horrifying picture, and PETA is calling for an investigation on these animals’ behalf—and is urging everyone to help prevent animals from suffering in slaughterhouses by going vegan.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—points out that cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, and other animals feel pain and fear and value their lives, just as humans do. The group is pursuing charges under state law because federal officials haven’t prosecuted any inspected slaughterhouses for acts of abuse since at least 2007.

For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Stevenson follows.

December 5, 2022

The Honorable Lance Stevenson
Minidoka County Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Mr. Stevenson:

I hope this letter finds you well. I’d like to request that your office (and the proper local law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file suitable criminal charges against Ida Meats LLC and those responsible for causing scores of calves to suffer and die en route to and at the facility, located at 1114 Williams Way outside Rupert. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents in these reports.

According to the reports, on February 28, a worker dragged a live calf by the ears from under a pile of carcasses. On January 3, an inspector found that several calves were dead—and others were “near death”—after being deprived of water. Additionally, over 251 calves hauled to the facility on 13 days this year, in temperatures as low as 29 degrees, either died during transport or arrived in such poor physical condition that they had to be killed prior to slaughter.

This conduct appears to violate Idaho Code §§ 25-3504 and -3505, respectively. Importantly, FSIS’ action carries no criminal or civil penalties and does not preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouse workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty to animals.[1] Given that the FSIS hasn’t initiated a criminal prosecution of a licensed slaughterhouse for inhumane handling since at least 2007, charges under state law are these hundreds of victims’ only chance at a measure of justice.

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
Investigations Project Manager

[1]See 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.”).

[1]See 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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