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Cruelty allegations close slaughter plant

GRAND ISLE, Vt., Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The federal government has closed a slaughter plant in Grand Isle, Vt., that allegedly abused veal calves, skinning one alive, authorities said.

Bushways Packing Inc. was closed Thursday after U.S. Department of Agriculture officials viewed video of calves, just days old, allegedly being kicked and repeatedly shocked with electric prods, The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press reported Saturday.

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"The callous behavior and attitudes displayed in the video clearly appear to be violations of USDA's humane handling regulations," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a release Friday.

The video was taken during August and September by a member of the Humane Society of the United States working undercover as an employee at the plant, the society's chief operating officer, Michael Markarian, said in a release.

In one scene, a calf kicks after having one of its feet cut off and in another a calf vocalizes while being skinned, its head almost severed, Humane Society officials alleged.

Frank Perretta, Bushway's owner, denied any cruelty and said he had not seen the video, the Free Press reported.

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