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$500M Settlement Reached In California Slaughterhouse Abuse Case

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A frame from an undercover video from animal rights group Compassion Over Killing shows a worker at Central Valley Meat Company slaughterhouse using an electric prod on a cow to get it to stand up. (Compassion Over Killing/YouTube)

A frame from an undercover video from animal rights group Compassion Over Killing shows a worker at Central Valley Meat Company slaughterhouse using an electric prod on a cow to get it to stand up. (Compassion Over Killing/YouTube)

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FRESNO (CBS/AP) — The humane society says a landmark $500 million settlement has been reached in a slaughterhouse abuse case that led to the biggest meat recall in U.S. history in 2008.

The federal civil court settlement announced by the Humane Society of the United States on Friday is the largest-ever penalty for an animal abuse case.

The now defunct Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. was a supplier of meats for the national school lunch program when an undercover video showed cows unable to walk being dragged with chains and prodded with forklifts.

The humane society sued for fraud and the U.S. Justice Department intervened because federal contracts required that animals be treated humanely.

The company did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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