Minnesota beef processor cited multiple times for inhumane slaughter

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Federal officials have been cracking down on a Minnesota beef processor over multiple breaches of humane slaughter rules, the Star Tribune reports.

Plant production at Triple J Family Farms in Buffalo Lake has reportedly been suspended four times in the past nine months over multiple breaches of humane slaughtering rules – the most recent coming last month.

The number of breaches appears to be high by U.S. meat processing standards. Referencing U.S. Department of Agriculture data, the Star Tribune says of the 61 plants cited for inhumane slaughtering rules for the 12 months ending March 31, 2013, only two had three suspensions.

Among the violations, USDA inspectors were concerned by the facility's “knock box,” where cattle are stunned senseless, as well as the "killing floor," where the stunned cows are quickly bled to death, the Star Tribune says.

A suspension in April reportedly stemmed from a pile up of cattle in the vicinity of the knock box and the possible overuse of an electric prod to keep the cattle in line.

Triple J Family Farms, which opened in 2012, processes cattle from Minnesota and the Dakotas for the kosher beef market.

The animals rights group People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals outlines the rules for kosher slaughterhouses and details instances of alleged abuse in such facilities.

While beef processors are subject to slaughter rules, poultry processors are not.

The Washington Post says two animal welfare groups last month petitioned the USDA to legally establish rules in poultry plants.

The Post says advocates have fought for decades for chickens and turkeys to be included in the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which currently protects cattle, swine and other mammals from abuse in slaughter houses.

Processors can be cited, however, under the Poultry Products Inspection Act if mistreatment of a chicken or turkey causes a portion of some of all of it to become unfit for human consumption, the paper says.

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