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New video alleges animal cruelty at veal farm

August 31, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Ten thousand Fruiti Pops popsicles were pulled from ice cream trucks and store shelves Friday in response to a typhoid fever scare linked to fruit pulp used in one flavor of the popsicles.The video, shot by animal protection organization Mercy for Animals, shows young calves kept chained by the neck and confined in small containers known as veal crates.

The group said the video was recorded at Buckeye Veal farm in Ohio. They said the company supplies veal to Costco sold in California.

"This is absolutely heartbreaking," said TV personality Bob Barker, a well-known animal rights activist. "For 18 weeks, they live in those miserable stalls in which they can't turn around, can't lie down, can't do anything."

But the Buckeye Veal said the video isn't an accurate depiction.

"This sensationalized video is deceptive to viewers because it includes shots from multiple farms and dairies not affiliated with Buckeye Veal in any way," the company said in a statement. "Careful review of this video does not show any mistreatment of animals at Buckeye Veal."

But Mercy for Animals disputes that.

"All of the veal farm footage that you see in this video is from Buckeye Veal," said Nathan Runkle of the organization at a press conference. "If they view animals chained in crates where they can't even turn around as acceptable, that should be a wake-up call to consumers of what this industry finds acceptable."

Last year, Costco stopped selling foie gras, the liver of a duck or goose fattened by force feeding, at its stores partly because of objections by anti-cruelty groups and partly because it wasn't selling well.

Costco officials said they're going to review the issue as well.

"It is disturbing," they said in a statement. "If they had come to us earlier, we could have looked at it and taken action immediately. We deal with many companies and there are thousands of farms and suppliers. We don't inspect them all, but we will initiate a policy so that something like this doesn't happen again."

"We want customers to boycott the veal industry and we want Costco to immediately remove veal from their store shelves," Runkle said.

In an exclusive Eyewitness News poll conducted by SurveyUSA, participants polled said they don't eat veal because:

  • They don't eat meat (8 percent).
  • They don't like the taste (30 percent).
  • It is too expensive (19 percent).
  • Of the way it is raised (20 percent).
The rest, 24 percent, said other reasons or were unsure.

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