The USDA has closed a Vermont slaughter plant to investigate possible animal abuse, following release of a Humane Society of the United States video.
The plant processes a number of bob calves for veal from Vermont dairy farms, according to this article from the Addison County (Vt.) Independent.
In response to the events at Bushways Packing Inc. in Grand Isle, Vt., Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said:
"The deplorable scenes recorded in the video released by the Humane Society of the United States are unequivocally unacceptable. The callous behavior and attitudes displayed in the video clearly appear to be violations of USDA's humane-handling regulations.
"USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is investigating these alleged violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA). FSIS took immediate action with respect to its employee and the establishment upon preliminary verification of the incident. The Department fully supports the investigation of all those involved in these alleged violations of the HMSA. To this end, I have also called on our Inspector General to conduct a criminal investigation of the events in the video.
"FSIS has a rigorous program to train inspection personnel in verifying humane handling and slaughter at establishments. When an FSIS employee observes behaviors that are not in compliance with the HMSA, they are obligated to take immediate action. The behavior of FSIS and establishment personnel witnessed in this video is inexcusable."