A horrific 17-minute video shot by an undercover investigator with Animal Outlook shows the alleged botched stunning and torturous treatment of a live cow at a New Jersey slaughterhouse, in what the nonprofit claims is a clear violation of state and federal animal welfare and food safety laws.
WARNING: Graphic video
Animal Outlook is calling on the U.S. Government and the state of New Jersey to criminally charge Bravo Packing Inc. and live animal hauler J&S Barr, LLC, for allegedly violating the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and New Jersey’s Humane Treatment of Domestic Livestock, according to an agency press release.
The gruesome video shows a worker at Bravo Packing Inc.’s Carney’s Point facility entering a trailer where a cow is lying down, from “apparent illness or injury,” according to Animal Outlook.
The worker attempts to stun the cow into unconsciousness using a captive bolt pistol — a handheld device that drives a steel bolt into the animal’s head to fracture the skull, according to Animal Outlook. Workers are then seen attaching a metal chain to the cow and dragging her off the trailer onto a concrete floor. The worker then makes several more attempts to stun the cow.
Throughout the ordeal, the cow can be seen kicking and moaning, displaying “clear signs of consciousness,” according to a veterinarian who reviewed the footage.
“Her repeated distressed vocalizations and bodily movements clearly indicate distress, pain, and suffering,” the veterinarian added, speaking on condition of anonymity due to cited fear of retribution, according to an Animal Outlook press release.
As the recorded incident continues, the worker prepares other animal corpses for use in the dog food manufacturing process. The bodies are near pools of blood, standing water, and mounds of feces, according to Animal Outlook.
Nearly 17 minutes into the recording, the worker succeeds in stunning the animal into unconsciousness.
Bravo’s Joe Merola told Lady Freethinker that the animals the company processes are killed on a farm. He said he was not aware of workers using a stun gun to kill the cow and also that the USDA would not allow workers to drag a live cow from a trailer.
“Those animals are killed on a farm,” Merola said. “If they killed a cow with a stun gun, I don’t know anything about it. We have a stun gun, I won’t deny that, but the animals are killed on a farm. Also, the USDA would not allow us to drag a live cow. They are all killed.”
Jim Barr, the owner of J&S Barr, told Lady Freethinker that his workers always kill animals before transporting them.
“Everything we take there is dead before we even get it there,” he said. “If it’s not dead, we carry a 0.22 rifle and can put it down that way.”
Barr then reviewed the published undercover footage and added that his company does some direct slaughter of animals determined to be “non-ambulatory,” as was the cow in the video. He said his workers were not the ones who used the stun gun. He said the shot from the rifle from his workers can clearly be heard at the start of the video, while the cow is in the trailer, before his driver drove off.
“Everything looks worse than it really is,” he said. “Nothing that we did was improper or outside of the normal. On video, you can hear the shot. We use a 0.22. Either way, we did not use the stun gun.”
Barr said that workers tap the eye of a cow after a shot to make sure the animal is dead. He described the movement from the cow in the video after the shot as “all that movement is nerve movement. It’s absolutely not alive.”
Will Lowrey, legal counsel for Animal Outlook, said the treatment of the cow was not only callous — but also likely illegal.
“We strongly urge New Jersey and federal authorities to intervene and close the company for good to spare other animals from such suffering and to protect consumers from Bravo’s dangerously tainted products,” Lowrey said.