By John Burton
SHREWSBURY – Catelli Brothers meat suppliers on Broad Street is facing serious allegations and action by federal regulators following the release of a video showing alleged mistreatment of animals at the slaughterhouse.
This week the Humane Society of the United States released a video that the organization had given to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In response to its investigation, the USDA found that some of the alleged behavior depicted in the video represented “egregious inhumane handling and slaughter of cattle at your facility,” and represented a violation of federal law, wrote Steven Lalicker, a USDA district manager, in a correspondence to Catelli Brothers, 696-768 Broad St.
In response to its findings, the USDA last week withdrew its inspectors from the site and suspended the facility’s operation.
The video contains footage of alleged mistreatment of calves at the facility, charged Kathleen Schatzmann, New Jersey director of the Humane Society of the United States. The 46-day undercover investigation conducted by the humane society allegedly shows workers taking as many as five attempts to stun the animals into unconsciousness before they are moved to slaughter; the federal Humane Slaughter Act requires the animals be struck once with the device to render it unconscious before it’s processed, Schatzmann said.
“The egregious and the abusive mishandling that happened at this particular facility is really just horrendous,” she said.
Calls to Catelli Brothers’ locations in Shrewsbury and in Collingswood were not immediately returned. A statement on the company’s website said, in part, “we take our commitment to the humane treatment of every calf seriously,” and are “cooperating fully with U.S. Department of Agriculture officials as we investigate the situation.”
The suspension will remain in effect until the operators can provide “written assurances, including corrective action … to assure that livestock at your establishment are slaughtered humanely,” Lalicker’s letter specified.
The Catelli Brothers facility, as part of the Fontelli Food Group, provides veal and lamb for wholesale and retail distribution.