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Cruelty Charges Close Grand Isle Slaughterhouse

Posted on Oct 30, 2009 - 2:26 PM
Burlington Free Press
October 30, 2009
Cruelty charges close Grand Isle slaughterhouse

By Joel Banner Baird, Free Press Staff Writer

A Grand Isle-based slaughterhouse routinely abused young calves, prompting its closure this week by federal and state agencies, a spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States said today.
A society member, working undercover as an employee of Bushway Packing, Inc., recorded video of calves kicked, slapped and inadequately stunned before slaughter for veal, said the society's chief operating officer, Michael Markarian in a telephone interview.
Frank Perretta, the owner of Bushway, said his business was shut down earlier this afternoon, but said he was puzzled by the action. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture routinely oversaw his operation, he added.

At 2:30 p.m., shortly after Markarian's announcement, Perretta said he had not seen any of the video footage, and is "absolutely not" aware of any cruel treatment at the plant.

"I just don't know what's going on," he said.

Markarian said videos of the mistreatment, which allegedly took place in August and September, would be aired through the society's Web site.

In online Farming magazine, Bushway is described as a small, custom slaughterhouse, certified for organic slaughter and processing through the Northeast Organic Farming Association.

Parretta said his operation exclusively slaughtered "bob veal" -- calves typically only a few days old.

Contact Joel Banner Baird at 660-1843 or

Read his blog at and follow him on Twitter at @vtgoingup .

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