People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is calling for criminal charges to be levied against New Angus following an April incident during which dead cattle were found in the company’s holding barn.
New Angus owns and operates the DemKota Ranch Beef plant on the southwest corner of Aberdeen.
The incident is being looked into, according to the Brown County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Three dead cows were reported to a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector at 6 a.m. April 3, according to a news release from PETA.
Barn conditions were ‘excessively foggy, humid and hot’
Conditions in the barn were “excessively foggy, humid and hot with elevated ammonia,” according to the USDA narrative of the event.
An employee informed the USDA inspector that fans and the air unit were not working when the employee arrived at the plant. After the worker got to the plant, curtains were lowered and fans were turned on, according to the report.
The system malfunctioned around 4 a.m, somebody at the plant told USDA, per the report.
An animal inspection was paused at 6:30 a.m. because the inspector was having difficulty seeing the cattle in the barn because of the fog.
An inspection at 7 a.m. discovered another dead steer and many other cattle open-mouth breathing, which is a sign of respiratory distress, per the report.
The barn had 750 steers and heifers inside. The cattle had arrived between 5 and 8:15 p.m. the previous night, according to the USDA report.
“My observations of respiratory distress indicate that the increase in dead animals was caused by the failure of the establishment’s air management system,” the narrative reads.
A noncompliance report was issued, per the report.
A USDA noncompliance report is issued “whenever inspection program personnel determine that an establishment has failed to meet one or more regulatory requirements, explaining the nature of the regulatory action.”
A call to DemKota Ranch Beef for comment was not returned.
Sheriff’s office in looking into cattle deaths
State’s Attorney Karly Winter said the Brown County Sheriff’s Office is looking into the matter as it could result in animal abuse charges.
“These cows were kept in such severely crowded, disgusting conditions that just a few stifling hours there was evidently enough to kill them,” PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Baden said in the release.
The group encourages all people to “go vegan” to prevent such instances.