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Employee Of Bushway Packing Plant Pleads Guilty To Charge Of Aggravated Cruelty To Animals

CONTACT: David Tartter, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5512

November 18, 2010

Attorney General William H. Sorrell announced today that Christopher Gaudette, age 37, has plead guilty to one charge of aggravated cruelty to animals in connection with his employment at Bushway Packing, Inc.

Mr. Gaudette entered the plea today in Grand Isle County pursuant to a plea agreement with the State. Under the terms of the agreement, Mr. Gaudette will receive a sentence of one to three years all suspended except for a thirty day sentence on pre-approved furlough to the State work crews. In addition, the court entered an order that Mr. Gaudette forfeit all future rights to participate in any animal husbandry or slaughterhouse activity involving live animals.

According to papers filed in court, the charge stemmed from allegations that Mr. Gaudette excessively shocked a downed calf, lifted and threw the calf, and then poured water onto the head of the calf and shocked it in the wet area. Following a complaint by the Humane Society of the United States, which had employed an undercover operative to film conditions at the plant, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, and Food Safety Inspection Service, conducted an investigation, which resulted in the filing of the criminal charge.

The felony charge carries a possible sentence of not more than three years imprisonment and not more than $5,000 in fines.

Commenting on the conviction and the sentence, Attorney General Sorrell advised: “Mr. Gaudette is now a convicted felon. Hopefully, this sends a message that we will strongly enforce Vermont laws requiring humane treatment of animals.”

The Bushway Packing plant is no longer in operation.

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