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American Meat Institute Condemns Veal Calf Abuse at Packing Plant in Vermont

Friday, October 30, 2009

Attribute Statement to Janet M. Riley, AMI senior vice president of public affairs and member services and Animal Welfare Committee liaison:

The treatment of veal calves in a Vermont veal plant depicted in an undercover video is abhorrent, inconsistent with industry recommendations and practices and downright immoral.

There is nothing to be gained by abusing any livestock.  Calm animals that are treated humanely are easier to handle and result in a better finished product.  The meat packing industry for the last two decades has embraced practices that keep livestock calm and ensure their welfare.  The practices on this video stand in stark contrast to what occurs daily in a typical, federally inspected plant that adheres to federal rules and embraces AMI’s animal welfare guidelines.

AMI’s Animal Welfare Committee, together with leading animal welfare expert Temple Grandin, Ph.D., developed guidelines and an audit to ensure that the industry strives for optimal welfare and continuous improvement.  All of this information may be downloaded on AMI’s dedicated site www.animalhandling.org.  The industry’s partnership with Dr. Grandin, which started in 1991 and has grown over the last 18 years, has literally transformed the practices used by the industry to handle animals and measure their welfare. 

 Given the intense oversight of animal handling in plants by federal inspectors, who must enforce the Humane Slaughter Act continuously, it is difficult to fathom how these events happened with federal inspectors present. We look forward to the results of the government’s investigation so that we may learn from them and work to ensure that this sort of handling is never permitted to reoccur.

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