Under pressure

Federal government joins lawsuit against Chino slaughterhouse

The Southern California slaughterhouse being sued by the Humane Society of the United States for its mistreatment of cattle now has to contend with the federal government.

Adding its weight to the lawsuit is the U.S. Department of Justice, which is seeking $150 million in public money paid to Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., reported the San Jose Mercury News.

The Chino-based slaughterhouse sent shockwaves through the nation when the Humane Society released undercover video of sickly “downer” cattle being pushed by forklifts, among other abusive tactics. The footage led to the largest meat recall in the nation in February 2008.

In addition to the allegations of abuse, the company, which had supplied ground beef to the National School Lunch Program, faces evidence that it fraudulently claimed that no downer cattle entered the food supply.