Landmark settlement reached in animal abuse case

Animal welfare group says lawsuit agreement is largest-ever penalty for an animal abuse case

POSTED: 11:38 AM PST Nov 16, 2012    UPDATED: 12:08 PM PST Nov 16, 2012 
cow in grass field

A $500 million settlement has been reached in a case involving the largest beef recall in U.S. History. The Humane Society of the United States says it is the largest-ever penalty for an animal abuse case.

Westland/Hallmark Meat Company was a supplier of meats for the national school lunch program when an undercover video showed cows unable to walk being dragged by chains, rammed by forklifts and sprayed with high-pressure water by employees who wanted them to stand and walk to slaughter at the Riverside County facility.

"It's a deterrence judgment".said Jonathan R. Lovvorn, chief counsel for animal protection litigation at the Humane Society of the United States. "It informs other federal government contractors that when your contract says you provide humane handling, if you don't do that you're likely to end up bankrupt as well".
 
The humane society sued for fraud and the U.S. Justice Department intervened because federal contracts required that animals be treated humanely.