Federal officials have shut down a California slaughterhouse after receiving an undercover video showing dairy cows, some unable to walk, being repeatedly shocked, kicked and shot, according to authorities. Investigators, sent to the Central Valley Meat company after officials viewed the heartbreaking footage, found evidence of "egregious inhumane handling and treatment of livestock," said a statement from the USDA's Office of the Inspector General. "The horror caught on camera is sickening," said the executive director of Compassion Over Killing, an animal welfare organization that placed an undercover worker in the plant to shoot the video in June.
Footage shows animals repeatedly shocked, kicked, and shot with bolts in their heads that fail to kill them even as they are hoisted, struggling, for slaughter. The USDA "considers inhumane treatment of animals at slaughter facilities to be unacceptable and is conducting a thorough investigation," a spokesman told AP. A statement from the company said owners were "extremely disturbed to be informed by the USDA that our plant could not operate based upon a videotape that was provided by a third party group that alleged inhumane treatment," adding that owners aim not "just to meet federal humane handling regulations, but exceed them." The animal welfare group plans to post the video on its site today. (Read more Compassion Over Killing stories.)