USDA investigating animal cruelty allegations at California beef processor
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it is taking “aggressive action” to investigate disturbing evidence of inhumane treatment of cattle at Central Valley Meat in Hanford, Calif.
Video taken by an animal welfare organization shows Central Valley employees shocking apparently sick cows with electric prods in an attempt to get them to walk to slaughter.
USDA food safety regulations state that, if an animal is non-ambulatory disabled at any time prior to slaughter, it must be condemned promptly, humanely euthanized and properly discarded so that it does not enter the food supply.
USDA said the video footage does not show a "downer" animal entering the food supply. However, the department is conducting a thorough investigation that encompasses food safety and will respond appropriately to its results.
"Our top priority is to ensure the safety of the food Americans feed their families," said Al Almanza, administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service. "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."
Fast food chains In-N-Out Burger and McDonalds have discontinued buying meat from Central Valley Meat due to the allegations.