For Immediate Release:
January 17, 2024
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382
Goshen County, Neb. – Following a just-released U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report detailing that the owner of the Wyoming Ranch Foods LLC slaughterhouse beat an injured cow—and that staff deprived other cattle of water—PETA sent a letter today to Goshen County & Prosecuting Attorney Eric R. Boyer urging him to investigate and file appropriate criminal charges against those responsible.
According to the latest report, on August 1, 2023, a USDA veterinarian saw the slaughterhouse’s owner “repeatedly whip” a cow—who wasn’t bearing weight on her left hind leg—with a “sorting stick,” a long pole typically made of fiberglass. The cow also cried out as the slaughterhouse owner twisted her sensitive tail, an extension of her spine. In May 2022, an inspector found nine cattle at the slaughterhouse deprived of access to water. Seven of them had access only to a layer of algae, sludge, and debris.
“At this hellhole for animals, the owner mercilessly beat a cow for 20 minutes in full view of a USDA inspector, while staff allowed other animals to languish with nothing but sludge in their water tank,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of these cows and urges everyone to help prevent animals from suffering in violent slaughterhouses by going vegan.”
PETA is pursuing charges under state law because federal officials haven’t prosecuted any inspected slaughterhouses for acts of abuse since at least 2007.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Boyer follows.
January 17, 2024
The Honorable Eric R. Boyer
Goshen County & Prosecuting Attorney
Dear Mr. Boyer:
I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as necessary) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the individual(s) responsible for repeatedly whipping an injured cow and twisting her tail—as well as depriving other cows of water—at Wyoming Ranch Foods LLC, located at 127 W. 11th Ave. in Torrington. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents in reports that the agency recently made available to the public. (See the attached table.)
According to the latest report, on August 1, 2023, an FSIS veterinarian saw the slaughterhouse’s owner “repeatedly whip” a cow—who wasn’t bearing weight on her left hind leg—for approximately 20 minutes. According to the veterinarian, the slaughterhouse owner also twisted the animal’s tail and the cow cried out in response. This conduct doesn’t represent the otherwise exempt “industry accepted agricultural and livestock practices on livestock” and thus appears to violate Wyoming Statutes § 6-3-1002, which prohibits cruelty to animals.
On May 31, 2022, an inspector found nine cows at the slaughterhouse deprived of access to water. Seven of them had access only to algae and sludge. This deprivation may violate Wyoming Statutes § 11-29-103, which requires that confined cows be given “a sufficient quantity of wholesome … water.” For more details on these incidents, please contact FSIS Office of Field Operations District Manager Dr. Robert Reeder at 303-236-9788 or [email protected].
Please note that the FSIS’ reports carry no criminal or civil penalties and do not preempt criminal liability under state law for acts of cruelty to animals. 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 victims’ only chance at a measure of justice.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Vice President of Evidence Analysis