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California slaughterhouse pays out over fraud claims

By Carina Perkins , 23-Nov-2012

The owners of a disgraced California slaughterhouse have agreed to pay over $300,000 to settle a landmark fraud lawsuit launched by animal welfare campaigners.

Donald Hallmark Sr and Donald Hallmark Jr, owners of the Hallmark Meat Packing Company, agreed to pay $316,802 over five years to settle a case filed by the Humane Society for the United States (HSUS) after the downed animal abuse scandal in 2008, which led to the biggest recall in US history.

The lawsuit claimed that the company - which was the second biggest supplier to the National School Lunch Program - had defrauded the federal government by violating rules on animal welfare in lunch program contracts.

The settlement included an agreement to cooperate fully with the US Department of Justice and HSUS in pursuing litigation against the remaining seven defendants in the case, and to agree to a final judgement against Hallmark Meat Packing Company of $497,000,000. This amount will not be collected due to the company’s insolvency, but HSUS said it would serve to “deter future animal cruelty in the nation’s slaughterhouses.”

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