NEW YORK – The doors of a Tri-State area veal slaughterhouse have been shuttered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) amid allegations of calf abuse prompted by the Humane Society of the United States.
Kathleen Schatzmann, the group's New Jersey state director, says a 46-day investigation and undercover video shot at Catelli Brothers, a national veal producer, shows downed calves – which means they are too sick or injured to walk to the slaughter line on their own – being abused by workers.
"There were numerous instances of calves being – that could not walk – being hit, kicked, being electrically prodded,” she maintains. “Chains around their necks, being dragged."
Schatzmann says the video also shows calves still conscious while hanging upside down on conveyor belts - she adds that while the Humane Society commends the USDA's swift action in suspending operations at Catelli Brothers, the undercover video highlights the need for more USDA inspectors at slaughterhouses.
Schatzmann says that while downed cows have protections under the Humane Slaughter Act, the younger animals raised for veal do not.
"What we're really looking to do at this point, is to close that loophole with the USDA, to make sure that those downed calves are also included in the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act," she says.
Schatzmann stresses that would include regulations to specify that downed calves must be immediately euthanized rather than forced to rise and walk to their slaughter. Audiofile.