USDA closes plant after HSUS undercover investigation
By Drovers news source Friday, October 30, 2009
The Humane Society of the United States released the results of an undercover investigation documenting animal abuse at a Vermont slaughter plant. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture took decisive action and immediately suspended operations at the plant, pending a continuing investigation. The HSUS is cooperating with agencies, and provided undercover footage and some preliminary findings to them earlier this week.
According to HSUS, videotape from the investigation reveals that veal calves only a few days old—many with their umbilical cords still hanging from their bodies—were unable to stand or walk on their own. The tape shows that the animals were kicked, slapped and repeatedly shocked with electric prods and subjected to other mistreatment. After reviewing the undercover footage obtained by the HSUS investigator in August and September 2009, animal scientists Dr. Temple Grandin and Kurt Vogel pronounced that, “the handling practices and attention to insensibility at this plant are unacceptable and must improve.” Link
There is no excuse for the mishandling of livestock. In our industry, we have spent millions of dollars on educational programming for all different segments of the livestock business so that there are no excuses for mistreatment. I am proud to be in the beef business, but there are members of our team that don’t always do things the right way. Because of that, we will continue to devote as many resources as we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The HSUS will use this to claim that we shouldn’t eat meat at all. But, we don’t stop going to the doctor when someone is convicted of malpractice and we don’t stop driving cars because someone used it to commit a crime. If these allegations are true, I am glad that it was brought to the attention of proper authorities and that it will get corrected.