For Immediate Release:
January 18, 2024
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382
Jerome County, Idaho – PETA sent a letter to Jerome County Prosecuting Attorney Sam Beus today asking him to investigate and file appropriate criminal charges against the workers responsible for striking and electroshocking a cow—and twice shooting a conscious steer in the head—at the True West Beef slaughterhouse near Jerome.
A damning, just-released U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report reveals that on August 8, 2023, a USDA inspector witnessed workers repeatedly jabbing a cow with rattle paddles—rigid oars filled with noisy beads—before electroshocking the animal five times with a prod as she cried out. The inspector stopped the employees, whose actions were apparently captured on video by the slaughterhouse.
On July 19, 2023, an inspector witnessed a worker shoot a steer in the head with a captive-bolt gun but fail to stun the animal, who moved his head “multiple times” from side to side before the worker rendered him unconscious with a second shot. The inspector noted that the first unsuccessful attempt had left a hole over the steer’s sinus cavity.
“At this hellhole for animals, workers tormented an already terrified cow and a steer spent his last moments in agony as he remained conscious after being shot in the head,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on these animals’ behalf and urges everyone to help prevent others like them from suffering 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 Beus follows.
January 18, 2024
The Honorable Sam Beus
Jerome County Prosecuting Attorney
Dear Mr. Beus:
I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as necessary) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the individuals responsible for repeatedly striking and electroshocking a cow—and severely wounding another—at True West Beef LLC, located at 6206 U.S. 93 near Jerome. 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 those reports, on August 8 an FSIS inspector saw two workers repeatedly prodding a cow in the torso and hindquarters with rattle paddles. One of the workers repeatedly electroshocked the animal on the hindquarters, causing her to cry out. A third worker then electroshocked the cow three more times, causing her to call out repeatedly. The FSIS inspector intervened, halting the employees’ actions, which were evidently captured on video by the slaughterhouse.
On July 19, an inspector saw a worker shoot a steer in the head with a captive-bolt gun but fail to stun the animal. The animal “purposeful[ly]” moved his head—which had a hole over the sinus cavity—“multiple times” before the worker ended his pain with a second shot. 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].
This conduct doesn’t represent the otherwise exempt “humane slaughter of any animal … raised as food” and thus appears to violate Idaho Code § 25-3504, which prohibits cruelty to animals. Please note that the FSIS’ reports carry no criminal or civil penalties and don’t 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