Central Valley Meat Co., which was shut down a week ago after an undercover video shows alleged instances of animal cruelty, says that its improved animal handling procedures are now in place, exceeding USDA standards. The company was allowed to reopen this morning, putting its 450 employees back to work

According to the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said it had “concluded its evaluation of the extensive corrective action plan” submitted by the slaughterhouse to address “recent humane handling violations.”

Central Valley Meat said in a statement, "We have completed and will implement an action plan that includes enhanced video monitoring of our facilities, an increased number of third-party audits, and more comprehensive training for our personnel..." As part of the plan, only ambulatory animals will be processed, and workers will not be allowed to pull, drag or lift the cows. Employees may use electric or vibrating prods sparingly, and never in sensitive areas of the animal.

Several area congressmen had been petitioning the USDA to allow the plant to reopen and the 450 employees to return to their jobs.

"The USDA came out and said it's not a food safety issue. None of us are questioning that if there was inhumane treatment to animals then that needs to be rectified," Rep. Devin Nunes of Tulare said.

It is illegal to slaughter animals which cannot walk on their own but Nunes takes issue with the animal rights group that released the undercover video showing cows being prodded.

"They're radical groups who don't believe in our form of making a living, which is living off the land," Rep. Nunes said.

Source: KFSN News, Los Angeles Times