People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, sent a letter to the Finney County, Kansas, attorney’s office Wednesday calling for an investigation into an allegation of animal cruelty involving a steer at Tyson Fresh Meats in Holcomb.
PETA says it emailed a letter to Finney County Attorney Susan Richmeier requesting an investigation into an incident in which a worker or workers allegedly violated Kansas’ cruelty-to-animals statute.
According to USDA documents, operations were suspended at the slaughterhouse on July 19 after a worker ineffectively shot the steer in the head three times with a knocking gun, which are intended to kill animals quickly and painlessly and are part of the plant's normal process. The animal managed to rise to his feet before being shot at least two more times and finally killed.
"PETA is calling for a criminal investigation of the incident at this Tyson Foods slaughterhouse, at which a worker shot a downed steer in the head multiple times in botched attempts at killing him," says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. "There's no difference between the terror and pain that this steer felt and how dogs or cats would feel if shots were fired into their skulls."
Tyson issued the following statement about the incident:
“We never want to see any animal in our care suffer, and believe proper animal handling is an important moral and ethical obligation. Everyone who works with live animals in our facilities is trained regularly in proper animal handling, and the team members involved in this incident are receiving additional training and ongoing performance evaluations. As indicated in the USDA report, this incident occurred as a result of equipment error. We have worked with USDA to resolve the matter and are working with the manufacturer to improve equipment practices.”
Angie Haflich is director of regional content at High Plains Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service.