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January 24, 2024

Animal cruelty charges requested against Colorado-based 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 – Today, a complaint was filed with the 13th Judicial District Attorney requesting animal cruelty charges against the Colorado-based lamb processor Colorado Lamb Processors, LLC and one of the facility’s supervisors. The complaint was submitted by global animal protection organization Animal Equality, along with legal advocacy organization Animal Partisan and Colorado attorney Chris Carraway from the Animal Activist Legal Defense Project.

The groups are requesting that District Attorney Travis Sides file animal cruelty charges against Colorado Lamb Processors, LLC and a supervisor involved in an incident in which a lamb was improperly stunned three times prior to slaughter.

The incident cited in the complaint occurred on March 28, 2023, at the Colorado Lamb Processors’ headquarters in Brush, Colorado, where a USDA veterinarian reported a lamb regained consciousness while on the conveyor belt bound for slaughter. The USDA veterinarian informed employees at the facility that a supervisor needed to be contacted immediately to ensure the lamb could be properly stunned before slaughter. 

The complaint goes on to explain that, upon arriving on the scene, the supervisor attempted to use a handheld captive bolt on the lamb, which propels a metal rod into the animal’s skull. However, the lamb remained conscious and showed signs of pain and distress – the USDA employee reported blood pouring from the animal’s nose.

The supervisor attempted to stun the animal a second time but was again unsuccessful. The lamb continued to show signs of distress by moving his/her head back and forth. The lamb was only rendered unconscious when another supervisor finally delivered a proper stun.

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 optimistic that charges will come from these acts of undeniable cruelty.

– Maggie Marshall, Legal Advocacy Counsel for Animal Equality

“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,” states Maggie Marshall, Animal Equality’s Associate Legal Advocacy Counsel. “We are optimistic that charges will come from these acts of undeniable cruelty.”

The USDA issued the facility a Notice of Intended Enforcement for violation of federal regulatory requirements, and production was temporarily shut down. After a short period of time, Colorado Lamb Processors was allowed to conduct business as usual without facing any consequences for the incident.

Nine months after this incident, a nearly identical situation involving the improper stunning of a lamb was reported. Again, Colorado Lamb Processors was allowed to resume business only eleven days after the incident without any consequences. 

“The USDA’s failure to take any meaningful action does not prevent District Attorney Sides from enforcing Colorado’s own animal protection laws,” said Will Lowrey, Legal Counsel for Animal Partisan. “The Colorado General Assembly passed its anti-cruelty law to protect animals from abuse, and those protections don’t end at the walls of a slaughterhouse.” 

“The most widespread and common form of animal cruelty happens inside places like Colorado Lamb Processors,” shares Colorado attorney Chris Carraway from the Animal Activist Legal Defense Project. “Colorado’s animal cruelty laws place an insufficient, bare minimum level of standards, and when places like these violate them, they should not be given preferential treatment and avoid accountability to the animals.”

The complaint asserts that both Colorado Lamb Processors and the supervisor involved in the incident violated Colorado’s animal cruelty statute, which punishes any person, including corporations and limited liability companies, for mistreating an animal. The misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to 364 days in jail or a fine of up to $1,000 or both.


ABOUT ANIMAL EQUALITY:

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.

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