For immediate release:
September 7, 2021
David Pearl 202-483-7382
Walnut Cove, North Carolina – PETA received a USDA report revealing a recent violation of the law at ML Mitchell and Son Meat Processing in Walnut Cove. In response, the group sent a letter this morning urging District Attorney Tim Watson to address the matter and, if necessary, bring animal cruelty charges against the factory and workers responsible for two goat shots in the head as the killer. the animal remained standing and screaming before cutting the conscious animal’s throat.
“This alarming report shows that the goat experienced a long and painful death at ML Mitchell and Son Meat Processing,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphne Nachminovich. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the goat injured at this site and calls on all compassionate members of the public concerned about this atrocity to help prevent more animals from suffering in the slaughterhouse by becoming a vegan.”
PETA, whose motto is in part that “the animals are not ours to eat” – opposes arrogance, a worldview focused on human superiority. The group notes that goats, sheep, cows, pigs, chickens and other animals feel pain and fear and value their lives, just like humans.
For more information on PETA news gathering and reporting visit PETA.org or subscribe to the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram…
This is followed by PETA’s letter to Watson.
September 7, 2021
The Honorable Tim Watson
District Attorney for the 23rd Circuit
Dear Mr. Watson,
I hope this letter will correct you. I would like to ask your office (and the relevant local law enforcement agency, if you deem appropriate) to investigate and bring appropriate criminal charges against ML Mitchell and Son Meat Processing and the workers responsible for the repeated shots to the head of a goat and cutting the mind of the animal’s throat on August 16 at the slaughterhouse located at 401 Mitchell Street in Walnut Cove. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in an attached report, which states the following:
“[Inspection Program Personnel] revealed flagrant non-compliance with humane treatment, in which staff repeatedly attempted to stun the goat before cutting the goat’s neck to allow it to bleed. The goat was loaded into the box, where Officer 1 attempted to stun. [the animal] using a .22 Magnum rifle. The attempt to stun was unsuccessful, as the goat continued to stand and scream loudly. Personnel 1 handed the rifle to Personnel 2 who had the best shot angle. Personnel 2 immediately applied a second unsuccessful stun and the goat remained standing and screaming loudly. Then Officer 1 entered the box and cut the goat’s neck with a knife, causing the goat to bleed. “1
This behavior appears to violate the stat. § 14-360 (a). FSIS action emphasizes that repeatedly shooting and cutting the throat of a conscious animal is not a legal act to provide feed that would otherwise not be subject to prosecution. It is important to note that FSIS action does not invalidate state criminal liability for slaughterhouse workers who commit acts of cruelty to animals.2
Please let us know what we can do to help you. Thank you for your attention and for the hard work you are doing.
Assistant Investigation Manager
1FSIS District 80 Manager Todd Fury, Suspension Notice, ML Mitchell and Son Meat Processing (August 16, 2021) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media_file/2021-08/M46822-NOS-08162021.pdf.
2See Nat’l. Meat Assoc. v. Harris, 132 C. Ct. 965, 974 n.10 (2012) (“… states may impose civil or criminal sanctions for cruelty to animals or other conduct that also violates [Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA)]… See [21 U.S.C.] §678; Wed Bates vs. Dow Agrosciences, OOO, 544 US 431, 447 (2005), stating that a preemptive clause prohibiting state laws “in addition to or different from federal law” does not conflict with a “equivalent” state provision. While FMIA is ahead of many state slaughterhouse laws, it leaves some room for regulation to states. “