Workers Slit Conscious Animals’ Throats at Local Slaughterhouse; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe


For Immediate Release:
February 8, 2024

Contact:
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – Following damning U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports revealing that workers at the Hometown Meat Market LLC slaughterhouse outside Luling recently slit the throat of a still-conscious steer—after doing the same to a heifer—PETA sent a letter today to Caldwell County District Attorney Fred Weber urging him to investigate and file appropriate criminal charges against those responsible.

According to the latest report, on January 19 a steer was led into a “knock box,” in which a worker attempted to stun the animal with a shot to the head before he was suspended upside down in midair by his legs for slaughter. As the steer was lifted, a USDA inspector noticed that he was still blinking. The steer thrashed and attempted to right himself, but an employee proceeded to slit his throat. The animal continued to blink as he bled to death. In a separate incident on September 6, 2023, a heifer was hoisted after a worker shot her in the head. As a worker cut her throat, she cried out and continued to do so until another employee shot her in the head again.

“At this miserable slaughterhouse, animals were subjected to prolonged, agonizing deaths, dangling helplessly upside down in sheer terror as their throats were sliced open,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of these animals and urges everyone to help prevent animals from suffering in 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 Weber follows.

February 8, 2024

The Honorable Fred Weber
Caldwell County District Attorney

Dear Mr. Weber:

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 Hometown Meat Market LLC and the worker(s) responsible for cutting conscious, hoisted animals’ throats on two recent occasions at its slaughterhouse located at 380 Business Park Blvd. outside Luling. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents in the attached reports, which state the following:

January 19, 2024: [A FSIS] Consumer Safety Inspector (CSI) … observed the first steer knocked for the day. The stun operator climbed onto the gate of the knock box and reached through the railing of the gate to administer the knock. This knock box did have a head catch, but it was not operable at the time. The knock was administered, the gate was opened, and the animal was hoisted. As [the steer] was being hoisted, CSI [redacted] noticed his eyes were blinking, and he was breathing out of his nostrils. He was also thrashing and attempting to right himself. An employee then proceeded to stick the animal. The steer continued to blink spontaneously but did not vocalize. The stun operator then turned to CSI [redacted] and asked if he should administer another knock. CSI [redacted] told him that he should have administered the second knock prior to hoisting and sticking the steer.

September 6, 2023: A heifer had been hoisted and she [had] been administered one, single knock to her head. As an employee made the first cut to “stick” her, she began to vocalize until another employee administered an additional knock to her head. After that point, she remained unconscious and was bled out.

This conduct appears to violate Texas Penal Code § 42.09. Importantly, FSIS’ actions carry no criminal or civil penalties and do not preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouse workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty to animals. Given that the FSIS has not 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 consideration and for the difficult work that you do.

Sincerely,

Colin Henstock
Investigations Project Manager





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