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NJ Slaughterhouse Shut Down For Inhumane Treatment; Company Launches Investigation

SHREWSBURY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) - A New Jersey slaughterhouse is temporarily barred from processing meat after federal officials viewed secretly recorded video showing animals being treated inhumanely.

The U.S. Agriculture Department on Friday suspended slaughtering operations at Catelli Brothers in Shrewsbury after determining the video documented two instances of inhumane treatment of animals that were to be slaughtered.

One cow had its neck slit and was bleeding profusely but was still conscious after being shot several times with a stun gun.

A calf was unable to walk, and was videotaped being dragged.

The Humane Society of the United States, which sent the video to the USDA and posted excerpts on YouTube, said in a statement the video shows "egregious inhumane handling of calves in violation of federal law.''

In a statement, the president of the slaughterhouse said the company has taken its ethical and humane responsibilities seriously.

"We are deeply concerned about the allegations that have been made regarding the care of calves at our facility. Any mistreatment of animals at our facility is unacceptable, and our established practices strictly prohibit the processing of any downed calves. Our company is cooperating fully with U.S. Department of Agriculture officials as we investigate the situation," Tony Catelli said. "In addition, the very day these concerns were brought to our attention we retained one of the nation's leading experts on animal care and handling in meat plants and he was on site within 24 hours to help us gather facts and identify necessary changes to ensure that we are providing optimal care and humane treatment of every calf that enters our facility."

The president said the slaughterhouse will take the necessary action as the investigation warrants.

The slaughterhouse has been in operation since 1946. According to the company's website, they are one of the largest veal and lamb companies in the U.S., employing more than 250 people.

Catelli Brothers is also a major producer of chicken and beef.

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