Animal advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is accusing a Torrington slaughterhouse of inhumane animal treatment and demanding a criminal investigation, but the business owner said the accusations come as a complete surprise to him.
PETA dispatched a press release Wednesday, claiming an owner at Wyoming Ranch Foods LLC whipped an injured cow repeatedly and twisted her tail, and that staffers kept nine cattle penned without water.
The group also sent a letter to Goshen County Attorney Eric Boyer calling for a criminal case against “the individual(s) responsible.”
But Kyle Petersen, owner at Wyoming Ranch Foods LLC, said he was taken completely by surprise by PETA’s allegations when Cowboy State Daily called for comment Thursday.
“I’m not aware of any of this,” said Petersen. “This is news on me.”
Petersen asked to see a copy of PETA’s press release, adding that he had not received it. He also said he didn't receive a copy of the federal noncompliance complaint PETA attached.
Cowboy State Daily sent both documents to him, and Petersen reiterated that, “I’m not aware of any such noncompliance.”
PETA Says Go Vegan
PETA linked to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report in which an inspector reported watching Aug. 1, 2023, “the establishment owner repeatedly whip (a cow) with a sorting stick with a flag on the end and twist the tail to the left in an attempt to guide the animal along the alleyway to the stun box.”
Only three of the cow’s legs were working at that time, as she could not bear weight on her left rear leg, the report says.
Another entry in the report from May 31, 2022, says seven cattle in the largest overnight holding pen had a stock tank, but it contained only algae sludge and plant debris. Another two cows in an outside pen “had no container for water within the pen,” the report says.
A staffer or owner told the inspector the animals did have water when he checked on them at lunch time. He immediately got water for the animals after the inspector discussed “the situation.”
In the letter to the Goshen County attorney, PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden said the organization “is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of these cows.”
He also called the slaughterhouse a “hellhole for animals” and says people should go vegan “to help prevent animals from suffering in violent slaughterhouses.”
In The Sheriff’s Hands
Boyer said he received PETA’s letter Wednesday and referred the matter to the Goshen County Sheriff’s Office for investigation.
He said he took the allegations made in the letter seriously and will see what the investigation yields before committing to any course of action.
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.