For Immediate Release:
December 18, 2023
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382
Merced County, Calif. – Today, PETA sent a letter to Merced County District Attorney Nicole Silveira calling on her to investigate and file appropriate criminal charges against Clausen Meat Co. Inc. and the worker responsible for repeatedly electrocuting a pig and cutting the throat of the conscious, crying animal at the slaughterhouse located at 19455 E. Clausen Rd. near Delhi on November 15.
A just-released U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealed that a federal inspector witnessed a pig “breathing, shaking, and struggling to get up” after exiting a severely crowded gas chamber. The pig was hoisted upside down, and a worker repeatedly electrocuted the pig in an attempt to render the animal unconscious, but the pig remained alert and crying out. The worker then cut the animal’s throat.
“This pig endured electric shocks and being stabbed in the throat in a terrifying, drawn-out killing that was nothing short of torture,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of this pig and urges everyone to help prevent all slaughterhouse violence 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 pigs, cows, sheep, chickens, turkeys, 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.
PETA’s letter to Silveira follows.
December 18, 2023
The Honorable Nicole Silveira
Merced County District Attorney
Dear Ms. Silveira:
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 Clausen Meat Co. Inc. and the worker responsible for repeatedly electrocuting a pig and cutting the conscious, crying animal’s throat on November 15 at the company’s slaughterhouse located at 19455 E. Clausen Rd. near Delhi. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:
[T]he CSI [FSIS Consumer Safety Inspector] observed a market pig exiting the CO2 stunner … breathing, shaking and struggling to get up. The CSI observed that [the pig] was rhythmically breathing. Using his flashlight, the CSI observed the pig’s eyes had tracking movement. … The CSI immediately notified an establishment employee of his observations as another employee hoisted the pig onto the rail. The CSI observed the pig continuing to breathe rhythmically. In response to the flashlight, the pig’s eyes moved right to left as [the animal] continued tracking the light as well as the CSI’s finger, and [the pig] was … squealing. An establishment employee retrieved the first back-up electrical stunner … and applied the stun to the animal, but it malfunctioned and failed to emit any electrical stun. The employee then retrieved a second back-up electrical stunner …. The pig continued to vocalize (squeal) as the stun operator made three attempts to stun the animal. However, none … were effective as the pig continued vocalizing during the process. The employee then stuck the pig as [the animal] continued to vocalize and was conscious. The pig bled out and became insensible with no vocalization, eye tracking or rhythmic breathing.
This conduct appears to violate California Penal Code § 597(b). 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. Since FSIS hasn’t initiated a criminal prosecution of a licensed slaughterhouse for inhumane handling since at least 2007, charges under state law are this victim’s only chance at a measure of justice.
Thank you for your consideration and for the difficult work that you do.
Investigations Project Manager