Slaughter plant at center of abuse allegations to reopen today

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An undercover video allegedly depicting animal abuse at the Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford, Calif., couldn’t have come at a worse time.

In the past, the high price meat processors paid for dairy cows was one of the few bright spots for dairy farmers already challenged with soaring feed costs and low milk prices, according to the Fresno Bee. However, processing at the Central Valley Meat Co., is at a stand-still and the area’s only other slaughter plant is left to pick up the slack, generating an oversupply that has dropped prices by about 20 cents per pound, the newspaper reported. 

However, Central Valley Meat has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reopen today. Read more.

Besides the economic ramifications, the latest allegations of abuse at the central California slaughterhouse create a black eye for the livestock industry.

Animal-handling expert Temple Grandin said some of the major issues in the undercover video shot at Central Valley Meat Co. can be attributed to the poor condition of the animals arriving at the plant. 

“I urge the dairy industry to market their cows before they become weak and extremely debilitated,” Grandin said in an article on MeatPoultry.com. Read more.

Veterinarian Richard Wallace is leading the campaign to persuade dairy farmers to avoid sending ill, lame or incapacitated animals to slaughter. He urges those in the industry not to use slaughter as a place to dump animals.

"Slaughter is not a place to dump animals," he says.

Instead, he urges them to think of older cows as valuable beef cattle, not cull animals. Wallace suggests coddling the animals for a few weeks after they are done milking to allow them to rest and eat. Letting them recuperate will result in healthier cows with higher-quality meat, providing more profit. Read more from National Public Radio.

Another concern in quickly sending animals to slaughter is an increased risk of drug residues. Michael Payne, veterinarian and outreach coordinator with the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, has written a helpful, one-page document to avoid common reasons for carcass drug residues in dairy cows. Click here to download the paper.

 



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