PETA calls for investigation into Thurston County meat processor

A national animal rights group is calling for a criminal investigation into a Yelm-based meat processor after it was repeatedly cited by food safety inspectors.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture cited Puget Sound Processing LLC for violating the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which was designed to limit suffering of livestock during slaughter.

Puget Sound Processing operates a mobile processing unit owned by Pierce Conservation District.

Last week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals called on the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a criminal investigation of Puget Sound Processing and its workers.

In a news release, the group said workers at the facility might have violated the state’s animal cruelty statute.

A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office said the case would be assigned to animal cruelty investigators.

The facility was cited twice in October after a worker shot a cow five times before it was unconscious. In another instance, a worker shot a pig in the eye, rupturing the animal’s eyeball; about a minute passed before the worker shot the pig again, making it unconscious.

It also was cited in April after a worker trying to shoot a pig missed the animal entirely, hitting the ground and producing shrapnel that hit two workers, according to the USDA.

Operations at the facility were suspended in late October, but that suspension was lifted in November by the USDA.

In an statement to The Olympian this week, a representative for Puget Sound Processing said the company has made changes since the suspension: “Once suspended, PSP re-evaluated our procedures, made changes and process improvements which included training from experts in our field of operations, equipment upgrades and new equipment.”

Abby Spegman: 360-704-6869, @AbbySpegman