Vegan campaigners are calling for a slaughterhouse investigation after a lamb was shot three times in the head in what they describe as an 'agonizing' death.
The incident at Elkton Locker and Grocery in Maryland was revealed in a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report.
Animal rights charity PETA has written to the Brookings County sheriff to investigate the slaughterhouse and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker responsible.
Shot three times
According to the report: "FSIS Inspection Program Personnel (IPP) observed a lamb standing with its head in the stun chute ready to be stunned. When the front gate to the stunning chute was opened after the first attempt with the .22 caliber rimfire magnum, the lamb was sitting on its knees, still conscious and looking around.
"IPP observed a bloody wound on the lamb’s head. The company employee made a second attempt with [a] .22 magnum rifle to stun the animal. After the 2nd shot the lamb was still on its knees looking around the room and coughing.
"The wound on the head was larger with blood coming out of it. At this point another employee was called from the cut room and successfully stunned the lamb."
"These disturbing revelations show that this gentle lamb suffered a prolonged, agonizing death at Elkton Locker and Grocery," PETA Senior Vice President, Daphna Nachminovitch, said in a statement.
"PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the lamb who suffered at this facility and the members of the public who care about him or her."
The charity adds: "This conduct appears to violate SDCL § 40-1-2.3. Importantly, FSIS action does not preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouse workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty to animals."