The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) temporarily suspended operations at Oregon meat processor Bartels Packing on October 27 after discovering improper use of hand-held captive bolt guns—which are intended to drive a steel bullet through a cow’s skull. During random inspections, the USDA found that employees shot cows several times with the bolt gun in places other than the skull, meaning the animals endured much suffering between shots. In its “Humane Handling and Animal Welfare” statement, Bartels Packing says, “Each year, two independent auditing firms conduct humane handling audits, and Bartels Farms is proud to report a perfect score of 100%.” The Oregon slaughterhouse was also fined $13,000 in 2013 for polluting local waterways with untreated wastewater. The USDA normally shuts down slaughterhouses based on food safety concerns, but rarely suspends operations due to animal welfare issues.
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