Video prompts slaughter­house shutdown

Operations at Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford have been shut down by federal officials after they found evidence of “egregious inhumane handling and treatment of livestock.”

Animal welfare group Compassion Over Killing provided hours of video to the U.S. Department of Agriculture showing inhumane conditions and practices they say were filmed at the slaughterhouse by an undercover operative.

Excerpts viewed by the Associated Press showed downed animals destined for slaughter being stepped on and suffocated, and being shot repeatedly in the head while flailing on the ground.

All this allegedly occurred at a fully USDA-licensed and inspected facility that online records show supplied ground beef to USDA food programs.

Food Safety Inspection Service spokesman Justin DeJong told The AP:

“USDA considers inhumane treatment of animals at slaughter facilities to be unacceptable and is conducting a thorough investigation into these allegations.”

Assignment of at least two inspectors has been suspended while the federal investigation continues.

In a statement, Central Valley Meat Co. said company officials have not viewed the video. Perhaps they may when it gets released later today on the Compassion Over Killing website, according to the group’s executive director Erica Meier:

“The footage clearly speaks for itself, but this is not an isolated incident. Investigation after investigation of these places is revealing cruelty.”