An undercover investigation by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), at the Catelli Bros. of Shrewsbury slaughter plant, in Monmouth County, New Jersey, led to suspension of its operations by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Department took enforcement action because of evidence showing that Catelli Bros. barbaric handling of cattle, was in direct violation of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.
The HSUS filed a legal complaint and included a video with footage that exposed the workers’ inhumane treatment of cattle. Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO for the HSUS, writes “Our undercover investigator documented calves being forced to rise to their feet by men who wrapped the calves’ tails around their hands – lifting the entire weight of the calf by this appendage. One calf with a broken leg was dragged by a chain around his neck and other calves were struck, kicked, pulled by their ears, and sprayed with water.”
Dr. Bernard Rollin, distinguished professor of animal science at Colorado State University, wrote “Of all the atrocity videos I have viewed, the current video of the slaughterhouse at Catelli Brothers must be ranked among the three worst.” The evidence of the abominable acts towards animals portrayed in the video was enough for Dr. Rollin to conclude that “[t]his plant needs to be closed down immediately.”
Although, it is required by law to immediately euthanize downed adult cows, and not use them for human consumption, there is still not any law that protects downer calves. Since 2009, the HSUS has been trying to get the USDA to close a loophole in federal policy, which still allows cruelty to sick calves. “We commend USDA for taking action to shut down the operation at Catelli Brothers, but it’s long past time to close the loophole in the downed animal rule that perpetuates continuing cruelty to young calves,” says Pacelle.
Send a message to Alfred Almanza, Administrator of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection services, asking the agency to close the loophole that allows the continued abuse of downed calves. You can find the petition here.