Cattleman's Incorporated

Meatpacking firms reach settlement on animal cruelty charges

Several California meatpacking companies that supplied beef to the National School Lunch Program have reached a $3.1-million settlement over allegations of abusive treatment of cattle and other issues.

Westland Meat Packing Co., one of the companies listed in the lawsuit, will enter a consent judgment of $155.68 million. The figure represents the amount the government paid for services, but because Westland does not have the assets, the company and its owner, Steve Mendell, will actually pay $240,000.

This is the largest monetary judgment ever entered in the United States for cases of animal abuse, according to the Humane Society of the United States. It initiated the...