For Immediate Release:
August 16, 2023
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382
Tifton, Ga. – PETA sent a letter to Tift County Solicitor General Jason Hoffman calling on him to investigate and file appropriate criminal charges against the Towson Cold Storage slaughterhouse workers responsible for excessively electroshocking and prodding a pig for 10 minutes before shooting him in the head six times over the span of seven and a half minutes. He remained standing, crying out, and bleeding from the nose throughout the prolonged ordeal, which was revealed in a just-released U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
PETA’s letter notes a pattern of bungled killings at this slaughterhouse: In 2021, an inspector documented that a steer remained standing after being shot in the head and that a pig cried out and stood back up after being electrocuted.
“This pig endured electric shocks and multiple blasts to his head in a horrifying, 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 all the animals who have suffered egregiously at this slaughterhouse and urges everyone to help prevent such 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, chickens, turkeys, sheep, 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.
For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Hoffman follows.
August 16, 2023
The Honorable Jason Hoffman
Tift County Solicitor General
Dear Mr. Hoffman:
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 Towson Cold Storage and the worker(s) responsible for excessively electroshocking and prodding a pig for 10 minutes and then shooting him six times in the head over the span of nearly 7.5 minutes while he remained standing, crying out, and bleeding from the nose on April 18 at its slaughterhouse located at 301 Ridge Ave. S. in Tifton. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:
Plant personnel attempted for approximately 10 minutes to move the first hog (large aggressive barrow) into the stunning area with both a paddle and a hot shot device. Pig was poked in both the abdomen and thoracic cavity. Pig was vocalizing while being prodded with both hot shot and paddles. Barrow was agitated and aggressively biting at the employees and at the prods and vocalizing. The barrow was brought into the stunning area and plant personnel attempted to stun the animal using a .22 caliber long rifle. … The barrow did not go down after the first attempted stun and continued to stay standing with blood seen dripping from both nostrils. …
The bullet was jammed inside the rifle and plant personnel needed to exit the stunning area/room to retrieve a tool to get it unjammed. This took 4 minutes. A second shot with the .22 long rifle was administered to the barrow. The animal was not stunned, continued to stand, and vocalized. 50 seconds elapsed and a third shot with the .22 long rifle was administered to the hog. The barrow did not go down, remained standing, and vocalized. 45 seconds elapsed and the fourth shot with a captive bolt was administered to the hog. The hog did not go down, remained standing, and vocalized. 50 seconds elapsed and a fifth shot with the .22 long rifle was administered to the hog. The hog did not go down, remained standing, and continued to vocalize. 1:00 … elapsed and a sixth shot was administered with the .22 long rifle to the hog, and this shot successfully rendered the animal unconscious.
This conduct appears to violate O.C.G.A. § 16-12-4(b)(1). 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. 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 this victim’s only chance at a measure of justice.
Please let us know what we might do to assist you. Thank you for your consideration and for the difficult work that you do.
Investigations Project Manager