After its Shrewsbury, N.J., plant was temporarily shut down last week for failing to dispatch calves humanely, the company is initiating several corrective measures.

"The proper and humane handling of the animals in our care is a top priority, and I assure you that the events of the past few days do not reflect our company or family values,” Tony Catelli, president, said in a statement. “We are firmly committed to ensuring something like this never happens again, and our company has taken a number of proactive measures to do so.

“It is essential to note that the processing of non-ambulatory calves is a clear violation of USDA and Catelli Brothers’ policies – and we have strongly reaffirmed that policy with all of our employees. The investigation found no evidence of processing of non-ambulatory calves at our plant, and our strict standards never were violated.

Catelli Bros. was cited for what the USDA said were two examples of egregious inhumane handling and slaughter of cattle, reports the Asbury Park Press. Catelli on Saturday said three workers involved with the incidents no longer are employed there, although it declined to say if they were fired.

Catelli said in his statement that the company had been given recommendations from Dr. Temple Grandin from Colorado State University and Jerry Karczewski of Karczewski Consulting, and a PAACO (Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization)-certified auditor has retrained the company’s employees.

Catelli added, “Several corrective actions are already underway or have already been implemented, including:

  • Reaffirming our policy that non-ambulatory calves that arrive at our plant will not be processed
  • Incorporating 24/7, third-party remote video surveillance and auditing of animal handling and processing procedures by Arrowsight, a program developed in cooperation with Dr. Temple Grandin; Catelli Brothers will be the first veal plant in the country to employ Arrowsight
  • Retraining of all employees who handle animals in humane animal handling procedures. Failure to follow these procedures will lead to specific disciplinary actions as needed, including termination
  • Increasing the number of inspections and documenting confirmation of proper operation of all equipment used in harvest
  • Increasing quality assurance audits of the harvest process following American Meat Institute (AMI) guidelines
  • Retraining all company transportation partners on proper animal handling and transportation procedures
  • Three employees involved in this Fall 2013 incident are no longer employed with Catelli Brothers

“Accountability, responsibility, continuous improvement and ongoing monitoring will be central to our programs going forward. Our work to be proactive in addressing the issues that have been raised will help to ensure our plant operates responsibly and always with the highest regard for the care of our calves.”

Source: Asbury Park Press, Catelli Bros.