Slaughterhouse Reopens although Shunned by Big Burger Joints and Schools

Tuesday, August 28, 2012
(video frame: Compassion Over Killing)

A slaughterhouse in Hanford that was shut down last week after secret video revealed inhumane and potentially unhealthy treatment of cows, was allowed to reopen after promising to reform its practices.

No more dragging, pulling or lifting of so-called downer cows that can’t stand on their own. And no more indiscriminate shocking of animals with electric prods—especially of sensitive body parts—although sparing use of electricity will be allowed in certain circumstances.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture  (USDA) let Central Valley Meat Co. reopen for business after reviewing its “corrective action plan” for dealing with practices that caused McDonalds, Jack in the Box, Burger King, In-N-Out Burger and the federal lunch program to sever ties following the slaughterhouse bust.

The USDA determined that no stronger actions were necessary because the videotape didn’t actually show one of the beleaguered animals being added to the food stock.

Central Valley Meat is the third top beef supplier to the nation’s school lunch program. The USDA bought 21 million pounds of beef for more than $50 million from the company last year. That’s about 16% of the total amount of beef that the department purchased for its nutrition programs.

The investigation of the plant will continue to determine if the sick and lame animals surrepticiously videotaped by Compassion Over Killing (CVM), a nonprofit animal advocacy organization, made their way into the food chain. That was one of the differences noted by defenders of the plant between this exposé and one in February 2008 at Westland/Hallmark Meat Company.   

The Central Valley Meat video shows lame, sick cows being shot in the head multiple times and struggling before they die. At one point, a worker stands on a cow's nostrils to kill it after the cow is shot in the head. An undercover activist shot the video at the farm in June and July.

Central Valley buys milk cows who have seen better days from dairy farms and kills them to produce ground beef. The plant employs 450 workers.

The USDA had closed the plant by refusing to send them inspectors, releasing a statement that cited its “egregious inhumane handling and treatment of livestock.”

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

USDA Clears California Slaughterhouse Accused of Abuse to Reopen (by Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times)

Calif. Slaughterhouse Gets USDA Approval to Reopen (by Tracie Cone, Associated Press)

Central Valley Meat Company: USDA Did its Job, OK? (by Dr. Richard Raymond, Food Safety News)

USDA Permits Central Valley to Reopen (by Rod Smith and Andy Vance, Feedstuffs)

California Slaughterhouse Allowed to Reopen after Cow Cruelty Video (by Mary Slosson, Reuters)

New Videos Tell an Old Story of Inhumane and Illegal Slaughterhouses (by Ken Broder, AllGov)

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