Burley’s Ida-Beef again under investigation for a botched slaughter | Agriculture

BURLEY — Eighteen months after having to temporarily suspend operations due to three mishandled slaughters, Ida-Beef again botched a cow’s death, federal inspectors say.

The company received a fourth federal humane slaughter inspection violation after the botched stun of a non-ambulatory Holstein cow on Dec. 21.

Regulators agreed to delay taking action on the violation for the beef processor southwest of Burley after the company documents explaining how it will address the problem.

Ida-Beef did not respond to the Times-News’ request for an interview.

The company had to suspend operations for two days in May 2019 after it had three problems in five months.

In the new incident, the inspector watched an employee place the captive bolt device against the animal’s head and fire it, but the cow proceeded to blink multiple times and move her head away from the employee, according to the US Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service report.

The employee immediately grabbed the backup captive bolt device and applied a second ineffective stun. The cow rose to her feet and staggered for 10 seconds and then fell down.

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The employee reloaded the device and applied a third ineffective stun and the cow continued to blink and attempted to rise again. The employee reloaded the device and, about a minute after the third attempt, a second employee and ran over and applied the fourth attempt to make the cow unconscious, which worked.

An Food Safety Inspection Service spokesperson told the Times-News that the agency issued an action deferral based on the company’s modifications and a plan of proposed action.

“Plant personnel should continue to monitor operations to prevent additional inhumane failures from occurring,” the letter of deferral to Ida-Beef said.

Each incident is investigated on an individual basis rather than being cumulative, the spokesman said.

A USDA inspector is always present at a slaughter house during operation and visits are not random.

The stiffest penalty that can be issued by the inspection service would be a withdrawal of the grant of inspection, and without an inspector present, a company cannot slaughter, the agency said.

People for the Etical Treatment of Animals asked the US attorney for the District of Idaho to investigate the company and file charges for repeated violations under the Humane Criminal Methods of Slaughter Act, which requires animals to be rendered insensible to pain by a single blow or other rapid and effective means before being shackled, hoisted or cut.

“This latest disturbing eyewitness report shows cows keep enduring prolonged, agonizing deaths at Ida-Beef,” PETA senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch said. “PETA is calling for a federal investigation on these animals’ behalf and is urging everyone to help prevent more animals from suffering in slaughterhouses by going vegan.”

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