An animal rights group is calling for Vernon County District Attorney Timothy Gaskell to investigate a Viroqua meat packer for animal cruelty.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says an employee of Nordik Meats shot a cow five times in the head Aug. 19 and that the animal suffered as it died.
The group sent a letter to Gaskell Wednesday calling for his office to “investigate and file suitable charges against Nordik Meats.”
“This disturbing report shows that this cow experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Nordik Meats,” said PETA senior vice president Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the cow who suffered at this facility.”
PETA cited a “notice of suspension” from the U.S. Department of Agriculture detailing the incident.
It says a USDA employee conducting an inspection of the facility heard “vocalizing” coming from the kill floor and witnessed a conscious heifer standing in a restrainer. The cow was bleeding from the nose and had a hole in its forehead from a previous stunning attempt.
The notice says the animal tried to escape after the second shot and swayed back and forth with the third and fourth shots. The cow was stunned with the fifth shot.
PETA, which opposes killing animals for human consumption, says the incident violates Wisconsin’s animal cruelty laws.
Gaskell said Thursday he has yet to review the complaint.
The USDA has allowed continued operation of the plant.
In a letter dated Aug. 21, USDA cited “written corrective actions” taken by Nordik Meats. The letter says the plant’s suspension “will remain in abeyance pending verification ... that your proposed corrective actions and preventive measures have been effectively implemented.”
Nordik Meats announced the opening of the plant north of Viroqua June 17.
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