ASHEBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, a U.S. animal rights group, called for an Asheboro slaughterhouse to begin livestreaming its kill floor after the plant faced a series of violations, according to the group.
Most recently, on Nov. 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says a worker at Randolph Packing Company unsuccessfully tried twice to stun a bull by firing a .25 caliber hand-held captive bolt stunning device into its head before the owner stepped in and successfully stunned the animal.
Captive bolt stunning devices, which are commonly used for this kind of procedure, fire a bolt into the animal’s skull to knock out or kill the animal. The process can be traumatic for an animal if it remains conscious after the device is used. That’s why, by law, slaughterhouse workers must successfully knock out animals on the first attempt every time.
PETA shared a report that showed five previous “non-egregious” stunning violations. A non-egregious violation means there was only one unsuccessful attempt to stun an animal.
The USDA suspended the plant for “egregious human handling noncompliance” and asked the business for “adequate written assurances” with details on corrective actions and how the business will make sure this does not happen in the future. According to Randolph Packing Company, the business addressed the issue to the satisfaction of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and has since been allowed to resume operations.
On Monday, PETA Investigations Project Manager Colin Henstock released a letter calling on Randolph Packing Company General Manager Craig Hamlet to “publicly livestream video from all areas of your facility where live animals are handled.”
In the letter, Henstock says this would prompt workers to take the law and their responsibilities “more seriously,” and it would help the public better understand how slaughterhouses operate.
PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch also addressed the company in a statement, saying, “These disturbing reports show that six cows endured agonizing pain because workers had failed to render them unconscious with a single shot, a disturbing pattern at Randolph Packing Company. PETA is calling on this facility to livestream its slaughter operations publicly—and reminds everyone that the only humane meal is a vegan one.”
Randolph Packing Company responded with a statement emphasizing that the company does not take violations like these lightly.
“Randolph Packing Company is committed to maintaining the health and wellness of animals in our care using a robust and systematic approach to animal handling,” the company said. “USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) inspectors oversee operations in our facilities every day. As required, Randolph Packing reported an issue in our facility and began routine corrective procedures. Randolph Packing quickly addressed the issue and implemented meaningful corrective actions, and preventive measures which satisfied FSIS, allowing the facility to resume operations. Randolph Packing Company will continue to prioritize animal welfare in its day-to-day operations and takes issues likes this very seriously.”
North American Meat Institute Vice President of Communications Sarah Little added, “Unfortunately, this attack on a local business is a tactic PETA has employed across the nation to protest animal agriculture,”
Henstock’s full letter is included below:
Dear Mr. Hamlet:
Given the recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report detailing how a bull suffered after being shot twice in the head—the latest in a string of similar violations—at Randolph Packing Company Inc., we ask that you immediately change operations there in the hope of lessening animal suffering at your slaughterhouse.
Will you please publicly livestream video from all areas of your facility where live animals are handled? Workers would take more seriously their duty to handle animals lawfully if they knew caring people were watching. As the world’s foremost expert on livestock welfare, Dr. Temple Grandin, writes, “Plants [t]hat are doing a good job should show what they are doing.” Your industry often complains that today’s consumers don’t understand how animals are raised and killed for food. You could help by enabling us to observe your workers moving countless individual animals—who value their lives as we value ours—off crowded trucks in all weather, attempting to stun them, slashing or sticking their throats, and bleeding them to death.
At the very least, will you reassign your staff referenced in the federal reports to jobs that don’t involve contact with any live animals—such as evisceration, butchering, and packaging—and report the involved personnel to your local law-enforcement agency for investigation into possible violations of the state’s anti-cruelty statute?
Thank you for your consideration.
Investigations Project Manager