Congressman Jim Costa is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expedite their review process for concerns regarding inhumane treatment of animals at Central Valley Meat Co., Inc. Since learning of the investigation on Monday, Congressman Costa has made this his top priority and has spoken daily to officials at USDA and management at Central Valley Meat to help find a path forward for the plant which employs nearly five hundred in Hanford and Kings County to reopen as soon as possible.
"We all want to ensure that animal welfare is protected, but we cannot lose sight of human welfare in this," said Costa. "There are hundreds of families in our Valley that are foregoing a paycheck while USDA works through their bureaucratic processes. While they are filing paperwork, these families are looking at bills pile up on their kitchen counters."
Yesterday, Costa spoke with Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture about growing concerns of the economic impact that keeping Central Valley Meat shuttered could have on Valley families, businesses, and especially dairy producers. In light of the current drought and record-high feed prices, many dairies are increasingly relying on the processing plant to send unproductive cattle to stay afloat.
"Central Valley Meat is doing their best to demonstrate their commitment to comply with the law," added Costa. "Our dairymen and women are in dire need of relief and processing plants like Central Valley Meat have become one of their lifelines. For the sake of our Valley economy, we need a resolution, and we need it fast."