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June 04, 2010

Investigation Update: Cruelty Charges Filed for Calf Abuse

There have been a series of investigations at factory farms and slaughter plants in the last few years—conducted by The HSUS and other animal organizations—and authorities are treating these matters more seriously than ever. Today, Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell issued arrest warrants for two Bushway Packing, Inc. slaughterhouse workers who were caught by an HSUS undercover investigator shocking, kicking and dragging newborn calves who were too weak to stand. The plant specialized in slaughtering days-old male calves who are taken away from their mothers at birth—rejects of the dairy industry.

HSUS undercover investigation documents shocking abuse of veal  calves
The HSUS

We released the Bushway footage in October and immediately the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture condemned the conduct, shut down the plant, and launched an investigation. The USDA’s Office of Inspector General is also investigating the plant for possible criminal activity.

We applaud Attorney General Sorrell for his investigation and the filing of charges. Here is the press release just posted by his office, with more details on this latest development.

Arrest Warrants Issued In Cruelty To Animals Case

June 4, 2010

Attorney General William H. Sorrell announced today that Christopher Gaudette, age 37, and Frank Perretta, age 51, both of Grand Isle, Vermont, have been charged with animal cruelty in connection with an investigation into the operation of Bushway Packing, Inc. Mr. Gaudette has been charged with two counts of cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor, and one count of aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony. Mr. Perretta has been charged with one count of cruelty to animals. Neither Mr. Gaudette nor Mr. Perretta could be located by law enforcement officers, and therefore arrest warrants have been issued for both individuals.

According to papers filed in court, the charges stem from the alleged excessive shocking of calves being processed at the Bushway Packing plant. Following a complaint by the Humane Society of the United States, which had employed an undercover operative to film conditions at the plant, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, and Food Safety Inspection Service, conducted an investigation, which resulted in the filing of criminal charges.

The misdemeanor charges each carry a possible sentence of not more than one year imprisonment and not more than $2,000 in fines, and the felony charge carries a possible sentence of not more than three years imprisonment and not more than $5,000 in fines.

The Bushway Packing plant is no longer in operation.

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