The California slaughterhouse closed down for alleged animal abuse counted the In-N-Out burger chain among its biggest customers, reports ABC. The Central Valley Meat plant provided between 20% and 30% of the beef used in the chain's burgers, according to an In-N-Out spokesman, who says the chain canceled its contract with the plant as soon as reports of abuse surfaced. The chain "would never condone the inhumane treatment of animals and all of our suppliers must agree to abide by our strict standards for the humane treatment of cattle," the spokesman says.
The plant also supplied ground beef to the USDA's school lunch program. Federal authorities have temporarily closed the plant while they investigate "egregious inhumane handling and treatment of livestock" caught on camera by an undercover activist from an animal welfare group. Some of the footage shows workers using electric prods on cows that can barely walk. Investigators are trying to determine whether the plant sent sick animals to slaughter, which would trigger a recall. (Read more hamburger stories.)