An animal rights group today (Monday) called on Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture to take legal action against a meatpacking plant in Postville, in northeastern Iowa. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced last week it had infiltrated the plant and found cattle being treated cruelly during slaughtering. Iowa Ag Secretary Patty Judge says it’s a federally-inspected plant and out of her agency’s hands. The federal U-S-D-A is granted authority over that plant, the state department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is not. Judge says her agency has no authority to inspect or regulate it. Judge explains the Postville plant is a very large operation, selling its products in other states and even foreign countries. That’s why they’re covered under Interstate Commerce rules, and the plant is federally inspected. Some smaller plants that specialize in meat produced just for clients in Iowa don’t need that federal regulation so the state has its own inspection program for them. Judge says law sets out the procedure for slaughtering animals in the state-inspected plants, and they’re held to that code. As far as cruelty to animals outside slaughtering plants, there are state laws dealing with that and the investigation and accusations begin with a sheriff and county attorney in such cases. Judge says she has viewed the online video that PETA claims shows cattle being mistreated during the slaughtering process. She says she finds the film “very disturbing,” and urges the federal inspectors to look into the accusations because nobody condones cruelty to animals. PETA would not make available for comment the person who claims to have been in the plant and filmed dying animals. The AgriProcessor plant in Postville handles about 150-Million dollars worth of cattle and poultry a year.
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