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July 3, 2024

Animal groups respond to D.A.’s refusal to prosecute lamb processor

Disclaimer: Any photos associated with this press release represent lamb slaughter and were not taken at a facility related to this case.

Fort Morgan, Colorado – Animal protection groups have filed a Motion to Compel with the Morgan County District Court after District Attorney Travis Sides refused to prosecute Colorado Lamb Processors, LLC for animal cruelty. Sides’ refusal was a response to a complaint filed this past January, in which the groups requested charges be filed against the Colorado-based lamb processor and one of the facility’s supervisors. In the complaint, the groups cite an incident at the processor’s headquarters in Brush, Colorado, in which a lamb was improperly stunned three times prior to slaughter.

The motion was submitted by the global animal protection organization Animal Equality, legal advocacy organization Animal Partisan and Colorado attorney Chris Carraway from the Animal Activist Legal Defense Project. The groups are requesting that the District Attorney be ordered before the Court to explain the refusal, which they say is “arbitrary, capricious, and without reasonable excuse” per Colorado’s law.

The unjustifiable suffering of the lamb at Colorado Lamb Processors’ headquarters is a result of the reckless and negligent actions and failures of the supervisor, as well as the failures of the company. We are hopeful that the Court will agree with us that there is no reasonable excuse as to why charges weren’t issued in this case.

– Maggie Marshall, Legal Advocacy Counsel for Animal Equality

This legal battle was sparked by a USDA report that a lamb had regained consciousness while on the conveyor belt bound for slaughter. Only after four stuns—including several with a device that fires a steel road into the animal’s head—did the lamb fully lose consciousness. The facility was temporarily shut down, but was reopened a short time later and allowed to conduct business as usual without facing consequences. Nine months after this incident, a nearly identical situation involving the improper stunning of a lamb was reported.

The groups took the case to District Attorney Travis Sides, requesting animal cruelty charges be filed against Colorado Lamp Processors for violation of Colorado’s animal cruelty statute. 

“Causing an animal to needlessly suffer is animal cruelty regardless of whether it is committed by an individual or a corporation. This suit is about bringing accountability when a double standard is imposed that protects a corporation from accountability,” said Chris Carraway, staff attorney with the Animal Activist Legal Defense Project.


Animal Equality is an international organization working with society, governments, and companies to end cruelty to farmed animals. Animal Equality works effectively for animals through investigations, corporate campaigns and legal advocacy in the United States, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, and India.


Animal Partisan is a legal advocacy organization focused on ending the suffering of animals in slaughterhouses, farms, and laboratories. Animal Partisan uses the legal system to challenge unlawful practices and expose hidden cruelties in the animal agriculture and research industries.

ABOUT ANIMAL ACTIVIST LEGAL DEFENSE PROJECT: The Animal Activist Legal Defense Project at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law works to empower and defend animal advocates through activist defense, affirmative litigation, and training law students to join and transform the field of Animal Law. Learn more at AALDP.com and follow us on Twitter/X and Instagram at @AALDP_DU.

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