The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) strongly condemns recently released video showing the inhumane treatment of cows at a California slaughterhouse and is calling for stricter adherence to humane animal handling guidelines and standards.
The AVMA labeled the abuse, which includes cows being pulled by their tails, kicked, and repeatedly shocked, as indefensible and deplorable.
“Once again, we are confronted with video showing unacceptable and inhumane treatment of livestock by those responsible for their care,” said AVMA CEO Ron DeHaven, DVM. “We hope that those responsible are brought to justice, and that their punishment will serve as a reminder that this type of abuse will not be tolerated by either veterinarians or the American public.”
The undercover video, taped in June at Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford, Calif., was shot by an animal rights group. Officials from the USDa suspended operations at the facility on Monday, and the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is conducting an investigation into the allegations.
In addition to investigating the inhumane and improper handling of cattle by facility employees, and the potential food safety risks associated with that handling, the AVMA urges the USDA to investigate whether or not the USDA-FSIS inspectors at the facility were providing adequate oversight. Anyone complicit in this unacceptable treatment of animals needs to be held accountable.
Gail Golab, DVM director of the AVMA’s Animal Welfare Division, emphasized the association’s zero-tolerance approach toward animal cruelty.
“People working with animals have a responsibility to ensure they are treated humanely; this includes workers on the floor as well as management in the corner office,” Golab said. “They also have a responsibility to stop — and prevent — this type of cruelty toward animals.
“Animal welfare is an AVMA priority, and we have worked hard to encourage the use of sound animal care practices in all types of facilities. Good animal care means making sure that animals are cared for and handled appropriately at all times. The AVMA simply will not tolerate bad behavior toward animals,” Golab said.
The AVMA urges law enforcement authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and to prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.
The AVMA has long-standing policies addressing the appropriate care and handling of animals used for agricultural production. They are available for review here.