PETA alleges Bob Evans Farms slaughterhouse violations in Xenia Twp.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling for an investigation into Bob Evans Farms in Xenia Twp. after allegations of two incidents this year in which pigs were slaughtered inhumanely.

PETA has contacted Xenia Prosecutor Ronald Lewis and the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, calling for an investigation and criminal charges to be filed against the workers involved at Bob Evans Farms, 640 Birch Road.

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PETA cited incidents from March 21 and July 3 that were reported by the onsite inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In each instance, workers used a “captive bolt gun” to stun sows that were no longer able to walk prior to killing them, but the guns did not work as intended, according to USDA reports. The workers had to use the devices three times on each pig before the animals fell unconscious and were subsequently slaughtered, according to USDA reports.

The USDA cited federal law that stipulates “captive bolt stunners shall be applied … so as to produce immediate unconsciousness in the animals before they are shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast or cut. The animals shall be stunned in such a manner that they will be rendered unconscious with a minimum of excitement and discomfort.”

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PETA Investigations Specialist Colin Henstock said PETA regularly reviews reports of violations at slaughterhouses. When the violations amount to “cruelty to animals,” that’s when PETA reaches out to local authorities, Henstock said.

“At times, we see other slaughterhouses with multiple violations that keep racking up,” Henstock said. “For these two pigs in these instances, it meant everything to them. We’d like some small measure of justice for them.”

Lewis is under contract with Greene County to prosecute misdemeanor violations that occur in the townships.

Lewis said it is up to the sheriff’s office whether there’s an investigation. He said if an investigation is conducted, he would review the evidence and decide whether to press charges.

The USDA put Bob Evans Farms on notice that the operation would be suspended if certain measures were not taken, including identifying why the violations occurred and implementing corrective actions.

The USDA was satisfied with Bob Evans’ response to the incidents and is allowing the slaughterhouse to continue operating, Columbus-based Bob Evans Farms President and CEO Mike Townsley said in a prepared statement.

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“No other industry has the level of oversight and inspection that meat companies call a normal day,” Townsley’s statement reads. “Inspectors are present in plants during every minute of operations and in typical operations, meat companies can receive non-compliance records or (a notice of intended enforcement) … Bob Evans Foods is and always has been committed to compliance and to optimal livestock handling. If, however, problems occur, we will resolve them swiftly, humanely and thoroughly.”

Henstock said the sheriff’s office has not responded to his request for an investigation. Sheriff Gene Fischer could not be reached for comment.

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