Federal inspectors are still at the Central Valley Meat plant. So far, they say they've discovered evidence of inhumane treatment of animals, but not of sick cows entering the food chain. Still, the Hanford company has hired a global public relations firm to deal with the fallout from the video.
Poked, prodded, and even electrified. Undercover video from an animal rights group shows disturbing treatment of cattle at Central Valley Meat in Hanford. Even beef industry insiders say some of the prodding is abusive -- like when workers shocked cows too sick to walk, or hit the cattle in sensitive areas, like the face.
"You know, if people aren't willing to take of animals the appropriate way, in our opinion, they should not be allowed to produce animals," said Dr. Randy Perry, an animal scientist at Fresno State. "It's as simple as that."
Through a public relations firm, Central Valley Meat's owners now say they've seen the video and they confirm it was taken at their plant.
"After viewing the covert video, Central Valley Meat is now working with USDA to address any concerns the government and inspectors may have," they said in a short statement.
Dr. Perry says slaughterhouses process more than 600,000 pounds of beef every week and nearly all of them do it right.
"In the society we're in it doesn't make any difference," he said. "All you have to have is one on tape and you know people think that's the way the industry is. It's not."
But Dr. Perry says some of the cows in the video probably should've been euthanized before they ever got to the slaughterhouse. That's the biggest concern for federal inspectors -- making sure these stumbling cows were never processed into ground beef.
Federal inspectors audited the animal welfare procedures at Central Valley Meat on July 24, just a few weeks after the undercover video was taken.
Beef purchases are suspended for now, even though there's no evidence yet that any of the sick cows in the video were processed at the slaughterhouse.
McDonald's and Costco announced Wednesday they would also suspend purchases from the company.
"There are behaviors in the video which appear to be unacceptable and would not adhere to the standards we demand of our suppliers," McDonald's said in release.
In-N-Out Burger had severed ties with Central Valley Meat on Tuesday.
If you want to see the undercover video, click here http://bit.ly/Pv9LBV.