FRESNO, Calif. – Three Central California congressmen cited the region’s high unemployment Thursday while asking the federal government to reopen a slaughterhouse at the center of a cruelty and food safety investigation.

Republican lawmakers Devin Nunes, Kevin McCarthy and Jeff Denham signed a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack saying that shutting the plant will do nothing to further the goal of responding to the alleged animal abuse.

The trio also asked Vilsack to intervene against “attacks that are occurring at the behest of radical groups.”

The USDA says the company cannot reopen until it resolves its humane handling issues.

“The company must first submit a corrective action plan detailing how they intend to comply with humane handling regulations before USDA considers allowing them to operate,” spokesman Justin DeJong said.

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended operations at Central Valley Meat Co. of Hanford after an undercover video shot by the animal welfare group Compassion Over Killing showed cows that appeared to be sick or lame being beaten, kicked, shot and shocked in an attempt to get them to walk to slaughter.

Federal officials say nothing they have seen so far in the video shows meat from cows that may have been sick made it into the food supply, but interviews with employees were ongoing.

It’s against the law to slaughter a non-ambulatory animal for food out of concern that it could be infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease.

In May, a cow that died at a nearby dairy was found to be suffering from the disease. The USDA said earlier this month it was an isolated case and didn’t pose a threat to the food supply.