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July 3, 2024

Animal groups seek criminal charges against Kansas-based meat processing company

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

Liberal, Kansas – A private criminal complaint has been filed with the Seward County District Court, seeking charges against a Kansas-based meat processing company, National Beef Packing Co., LLC (NBPC). The complaint was filed earlier today by the global animal protection organization Animal Equality, alongside legal advocacy group Animal Partisan and Kansas animal lawyer Katie Barnett. The Parties are asking the judge to file a criminal charge against NBPC for the alleged violation of the state’s Humane Slaughter Law.

The complaint cites an incident reported by the USDA on May 16, 2023, in which a cow at the NBPC facility was ineffectively stunned three times with a captive bolt gun. The animal was only rendered unconscious when the area supervisor made a fourth attempt. A captive bolt gun is a handheld device that propels a steel rod at rapid speed into the skull of an animal. 

The incident was observed by an inspector from the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), who noted that, even after the first three attempts, the animal was bleeding around the face and “remained conscious as evident by strenuous movement of the head and eyes tracking.”

The final moments of this cow’s life at the National Beef Packing facility were marked by prolonged and unnecessary pain and distress. We are hopeful that this corporation will be held accountable for this suffering.

– Maggie Marshall, Legal Advocacy Counsel for Animal Equality

In addition to federal law intended to reduce the suffering of animals at slaughter, Kansas has its own similar law. According to the complaint, Kansas’s Humane Slaughter Law affords “protections for livestock during the slaughter process.” The law covers animals such as cattle, calves, sheep and swine from methods of slaughter the law deems “inhumane,” which includes any method that doesn’t render the animal “insensible to pain” in a “rapid and effective” way. 

The filing Parties are asking the Seward County District Court to file a criminal charge against NBPC—the corporation itself—for violating the state’s Humane Slaughter Law. Kansas law dictates that corporations can be found at fault under the State’s corporate liability statute.


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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