W. MI slaughterhouse cited in inhumane killing of animals

Ottawa County

FILLMORE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan slaughterhouse is being suspended following repeat inhumane methods of killing cows, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Fillmore Beef Company, located just outside of Holland, was issued a suspension notice earlier this month. Now, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants the company to be charged criminally.

The reports by the USDA describes a violent scene where a cow suffered while being stunned multiple times during a botched slaughter. It’s the second such report in three months.

“Imagine being shot in the head and surviving the blast only to be shot again and again and again,” said Colin Henstock with PETA’s investigation team. “These animals feel the same terror and pain that you or I would.”

According to a suspension letter from the USDA on Nov. 6, a Food and Safety Inspector Service supervisor heard what sounded like an animal drop followed by “vocalizing and resumed movement.” 

The supervisor then said they could see the animal moving and blood dripping from its nostril and face after a stunning attempt. The bolt stunning technique is commonly used in slaughterhouses because it instantly makes the animal unconscious without causing pain, according to the Department of Animal Science at Colorado State University. 

Normally, one stunning attempt from a bolt gun is enough. In this case, it took several painful attempts before the cow was killed.

Multiple shots fired on a single animal is a violation of federal slaughter rules and regulations.

But this isn’t the first time — a similar incident happened at the Fillmore Beef Company in late August.

USDA cited the slaughterhouse and suspended operations weeks ago. Now, PETA is taking it a step further by asking the United States Attorney for the Western District of Michigan to file criminal charges against Fillmore Beef Company and its workers.

“PETA is seeking some small matter of justice for these animals and to put an end to this ongoing inhumane treatment,” Henstock said.

If criminally charged, the penalty is up to a year in prison or a $1,000 fine. It’s now up to the U.S. District Attorney’s office to determine if criminal charges are issued. 

News 8 reached out to the Fillmore Beef Company but did not receive a response.

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