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June 4, 2010

Felony and Misdemeanor Animal Cruelty Charges Filed in Vermont Dairy Calf Abuse Case



The Humane Society of the United States praised the Vermont attorney general for charging two former slaughter plant operators with felony and misdemeanor criminal animal cruelty in connection to The HSUS' investigation of a dairy calf slaughter plant last October.

According to Vermont's attorney general, Christopher Gaudette has been charged with one count of felony aggravated cruelty and two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Frank Perretta has been charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty, and arrest warrants have been issued for both defendants.

"The abuse of the animals at Bushway was appalling, and justice had to be done," stated Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. "We are grateful to Vermont Attorney General William H. Sorrell for filing charges against the individuals responsible for this unconscionable abuse."

The charges stem from The HSUS' undercover investigation that revealed dairy calves only a few days old — many with their umbilical cords still hanging from their bodies — unable to stand or walk on their own. The footage documented that newborn calves too weak to stand were kicked, slapped and repeatedly shocked with electric prods and subjected to other mistreatment. Christopher Gaudette was caught pouring water on one calf to increase the intensity of the shocking device.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture suspended operations at the plant last October.

Facts

  • When dairy cows give birth to male calves, the calves are often sold to veal factory farms where they are unable to turn around or stretch their limbs, or they are slaughtered for "bob veal" within a week of being born.
  • About 700,000 veal calves are slaughtered in the United States annually, approximately 15 percent of whom are bob veal calves.
  • Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine and Michigan have passed laws phasing out the use of restrictive veal crate confinement systems, but still allow transport and slaughter of calves at any age.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization—backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty—on the web at humanesociety.org.

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