Shocking Cruel Treatment of Calves Closes Vermont Slaughterhouse

Shocking video was released last week about the cruel treatment of newborn calves, at Bushway Packing, Inc. – a slaughterhouse in Vermont. 


It’s hard to say which part of this story is more intolerable. The fact that these calves, who were only days old and still had their umbilical cords attached, were kicked, stunned with electrical prods and cut open while they were conscious or the fact that this slaughterhouse already had its license suspended three times earlier this year for animal abuse.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture closed down Bushway Packing for a day in May, June and again in July after an inspector cited the company for inhumane treatment of animals.


However, it wasn’t until the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) released an undercover video on Friday, that the government finally decided to react by shutting down the company. 



According to a release from HSUS the video shows how the calves weren’t “rendered insensible to pain” as required by law.  One awful scene shows an infant making noises as his head was being severed. 


Another scene has one of the co-owners of Bushway Packing, Inc. repeatedly shocking a calf who could not stand up.  On the tape he says, “There’s nothing wrong with you, Shitbox.” 


In yet another scene, workers are taped while throwing water on a calf in order to intensify the electrical current of the prods.



U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had a very strong reaction to the abuse at Bushway Packing and immediately issued an investigation.  He also assured the public that he would press for criminal charges against the owners of the company. 


In a news release he said, “The deplorable scenes recorded in the video released by the Humane Society of the United States are unequivocally unacceptable. The callous behavior and attitudes displayed in the video clearly appear to be violations of USDA’s humane handling regulations.” 


The Department of Agriculture also issued an investigation into conduct of the USDA Inspector who is stationed at the slaughterhouse.  Inspectors are “obligated to take immediate action” when they see behaviors that are not in compliance with federal laws.



Male calves wind up at the slaughterhouse via two different routes.  Some are sold to veal factory farms where they are kept until they are 4 months old. Then they are shipped to a slaughter plant. 


Other calves are slaughtered for “bob veal” which is the meat that ends up in hot dogs and lunch meats.  These calves are sent to the slaughterhouse within a week of being born. 


Bushway Packing, Inc. specialized in calves used for “bob veal.” 


“The calves are taken away from their mothers at birth and sent, as mere infants, to the slaughter plant for immediate slaughter – to be used as “bob veal.”  Without their mothers to nourish them, they are in a weakened state – hungry, lonely, confused, frightened, and in some cases, unable to stand or walk,” said Wayne Pacelle CEO of HSUS.


The other greatly disturbing fact in this case is that Bushway Packing was “certified as an organic processor.”  This brought a strong reaction from organic dairy farmers who supplied the slaughterhouse with their calves. 


Paul Stecker, an organic dairy farmer who watched the video told HSUS, “That’s not right, that’s really nasty.  I wouldn’t be in this business if that’s the way it was.  That’s not the norm.  I can tell you that.” 


The whole ordeal is making dairy farmers look at an area of their industry they usually do not want to address.


As an animal advocate, I sincerely hope this horrific story won’t just become “the story of the week” and slowly leave our minds as the days pass.  Care2 blogger Angel F. has been writing a series of stories about the Vegan lifestyle. Maybe now is the time to reconsider this option. 


Link to the HSUS Video

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Jae Parks
Jae Parks3 years ago

I agree with Muriel S. and my family were farmers. Never did my great grandparents, grandparents or any of the rest of my family even dream of this happening. There is no word for this act of cruelty.

Muriel Servaege
Muriel Servaege3 years ago

Horrible. No word is strong enough to describe my feelings.

Susan Zitzler
Susan Zitzler3 years ago

It is horrible to read these articles, but it is fact of what we eat and how it gets to us. However, there eating country then we need cameras in all companies that process meat so it can be documented what is happening and how some wimp ass men get their jollies off torturing animals on their way to death as it is. I wish I could do the same to them so they could feel the pain. I just do not understand how stupid and horrible some people can be when they have an animal under their control and feel it necessary to torture the animals for their pleasure. Tapes of all going ones in these places should be made and and problems with those who use their job as a place to torture should receive fines and jail time. To me, forget the stun guns and just one small bullet to the head to kill them instantly.Throat cutting is suffering also, it is a horrible thing we do to animals just to eat meat.

Stella Nobrega-Garcia

Noted. Ty.

Waltraud U.
Waltraud U.3 years ago

As long as not one government on our world is able to place the right laws to protect our all animals and as long as unhumane and paranoid men work in this branch we have to read this kind of stories.


Abo Ahmed r.
Abo r.5 years ago


Diane B.
Diane B.5 years ago

When taking videos of these kinds of things, I wish they would also video the faces of these so called men doing this. Then everyone in their town will know what low life, sick, sadistic sob's they are and treat them as such!

Tom Sullivan
Tom C Sullivan5 years ago

Oh yes there is a place in Hell for theses Jerks

Past Member
Past Member 5 years ago

It is so sad, that a company could do these INHUMANE things to babies. Makes me wonder, what harm do they do to other animals.

James S.
James S.6 years ago

Sorry Sharon! I had the wrong author. Great article.