DAKOTA CITY, NE (KTIV) – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is asking the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office to investigate the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Dakota City, Nebraska, following a report of a recent violation of cruelty to animals.
On August 7, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sent plant manager Paul Van Wassenhove a Notice of Intended Enforcement from the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
The notification was over “handling or slaughtering animals inhumanely such as, that which occurred at your establishment on August 4, 2018.”
According to the report, around 8: 20 p.m. on August 4, the Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV) watched the stunning process at the plant. It was during this process, the SPHV observed an animal inside the knock box move past an employee with a pneumatic stunner, before a second team member attempted to knock it out with the hand held captive bolt gun (HHCB).
According to the report, the HHCB gun was placed on the animal’s head and discharged, but the animal remained “conscious and was bright, alert and responsive with its head in a normal position and looking around”.
According to the report, during the second attempt with the HHCB gun, the animal became agitated and swayed its head, but the gun was discharged again in the animal’s head.
According to the report, the animal “bellowed” and began thrashing its head back and forth on the second attempt. The animal continued to show an agitated behavior, as an employee removed “with some difficulty” the bolt that had lodged in the animal’s forehead.
A third attempt with the gun resulted in the animal being rendered unconscious, as its head dropped in the knock box.
On Wednesday Colin Henstock, an Investigations Specialist with PETA, sent Dakota County Sheriff Chris Kleinberg a letter requesting an investigation and to file “suitable criminal charges” against Tyson Fresh Meats.
In a statement, officials from Tyson Fresh Meats said the following:
“Proper animal handling is extremely important to us, which is why we work to make sure we’re using effective tools and training. This was an unfortunate, isolated incident that was appropriately documented by the USDA. We fully cooperated with the follow-up investigation that found our team members did not behave with ill intent and have worked with USDA to increase monitoring of this area of our operations.
“Tyson Foods is committed to the well-being, proper handling and humane harvesting of all animals we use to produce meat and poultry. This is a long-standing commitment, and we pledge our diligence in leading the industry pursuit of new and improved technology and methods to improve animal well-being.”