Evidence of animal abuse at California slaughter facility prompts investigation

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, August 22, 2012- USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) halted the slaughter operations at Central Valley Meat in Hanford, Calif. after receiving video depicting inhumane treatment of cattle at the facility. According to a release Tuesday, USDA notified the operation on August 19 that it would immediately suspend the assignment of inspectors at the establishment.

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The animal welfare organization Compassion Over Killing provided the video, prompting the Department to initiate an investigation. FSIS reported that it found violations in terms of humane handling, but not in terms of food safety so far in the investigation.

"Our top priority is to ensure the safety of the food Americans feed their families," said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza. "We have reviewed the video and determined that, while some of the footage provided shows unacceptable treatment of cattle, it does not show anything that would compromise food safety. Therefore, we have not substantiated a food safety violation at this time. We are aggressively continuing to investigate the allegations."

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association issued a statement yesterday from Associate Dean for the College of Agriculture at California State University, Dr. Dave Daley, who called the actions depicted in the video “disgraceful and not representative of the cattle community.”

“This is exactly why the farmer and rancher code of conduct within Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) has been in place since 1996 and condemns the mistreatment of animals,” Daley said. “We believe any individual who witnesses inappropriate animal treatment is responsible for making every effort to stop it immediately. Anyone who mistreats animals must be reported immediately and should be punished in accordance with the law. We must work together to put a stop to any abuse.”



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