For Immediate Release:
September 7, 2021
David Perle 202-483-7382
Olivia, Minn. – PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Prairie Meats Inc., in Olivia. In response, the group sent a letter this morning calling on Renville County Attorney David Torgelson to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the workers responsible for shooting a lamb in the head four times with captive-bolt guns. The lamb bled from the mouth, nose, and head after the initial blasts and even stood up and walked away after two shots to the head before being dragged along the floor and finally stunned.
“This disturbing report shows that a lamb experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Prairie Meats,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the lamb who suffered at this facility and urging all compassionate members of the public who are disturbed by this cruelty to help prevent more animals from suffering in slaughterhouses by going vegan.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. The group notes that sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals feel pain and fear and value their lives, just as humans do.
PETA’s letter to Torgelson follows.
September 7, 2021
The Honorable David Torgelson
Renville County Attorney
Dear Mr. Torgelson,
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 Prairie Meats Inc., and the workers responsible for repeatedly shooting a conscious lamb in the head—leaving him bleeding from the skull, nose, and mouth—on August 11 at its slaughterhouse located at 2505 W. Lincoln Ave. in Olivia. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:
“After the first stunning attempt by [an establishment employee], using a hand-held captive bolt device on a lamb in the head restrainer, the animal was still conscious. Bleeding was observed from the skull area where the stun device was discharged and could be seen from the nose, and mouth. The lamb moved its head, neck, and tracked objects around him. The establishment employee then used a second pre-loaded handheld captive bolt device to attempt a second stun. After the second stun bleeding could still be observed from the wound, nose, and mouth. The lamb lost mobility of the head, the head and neck dropped, and it discontinued tracking objects with its eyes. The establishment employee took the lamb out of the restrainer and it regained consciousness, it stood up on four legs and walked around the harvest floor taking approximately six steps toward the nearby livestock pens. An establishment employee then restrained the lamb using his hands and legs while another establishment employee performed a third stunning attempt with a re-loaded hand-held captive bolt device. Bleeding continued to be observed from the stun wound, nose, and mouth. The lamb lost mobility and was dragged to the shacking area. At about the same time, an establishment employee touched the eyes and noticed the eyes twitched with hand contact. The establishment employee then reloaded the hand-held captive bolt device and performed a fourth stun, at which point the animal was verified insensible.”1
This conduct appears to violate Minn. Stat. § 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.
Assistant Manager of Investigations
1FSIS District 25 Manager Dr. Dawn Sprouls, Notice of Suspension, Prairie Meats, Inc. (August 11, 2021) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media_file/2021-08/M47273-NOS-08112021.pdf.
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.”).