Westland/Hallmark, of the famous “downer cow” footage, has nothing on this one. I got an email a few days ago with a link to footage taken at a Vermont slaughter plant. I often receive videos depicting horrific animal treatment, but this one stood out. The footage I was sent showed veal calves—only days old—unable to walk or stand on their own, repeatedly kicked, slapped and shocked. Once again, we have sickening proof that there are people who just don’t get it. In a civilized society we have to do things right. The USDA, despite the industry’s best efforts, does have rules that cover some parts of a slaughter plant operation. Slaughter plants that operate like this can’t hide anymore. People are no longer satisfied with being spoon-fed lies about production practices that are “in our best interests”; the consumer is educated, interested and is paying attention.
Click here to read an Associated Press Article About the Latest Atrocities
Here’s Program Director Andrew Gunther’s response:
It never ceases to amaze me the depths human beings will go to.
Footage released this week exposed downed cows being repeatedly shocked with electric prods and dragged while still alive at an auction facility in Portales, New Mexico. This follows closely on the heels of another welfare-related investigation in Chino, California, which led to the largest beef recall in history.
Regarding the most recent incident in Portales. The auction manager stated that there were policies in place to prevent such abuses from occurring. If these are his policies, I suggest he be immediately removed from his post. This is the type of deeply entrenched indifference that allowed the most recent horrors to occur under the watch of New Mexico brand inspectors, none of whom spoke out against it.
Most meat-eaters in America would not be willing to kick a cow in the head repeatedly or drag it by forklift until its hind leg was hyper-extended. Most meat-eaters in American would not be willing to use an electric prod on a cow too weak to rise. But they will unwittingly pay someone else to do it. That is what keeps ground beef at $3.59 a pound, and that is what prompts auction houses and slaughter facilities to handle as many animals as possible-and not as humanely as possible.
Patrick Boyle, President of the American Meat Institute, called the treatment “inexplicable.” I would disagree. When workers are trained in an environment that values total pounds processed over animal welfare, and when enforcement of existing regulations is spotty at best, it is easy to see how this could happen. Bad becomes normal, and it takes a public outcry for these all-too-common abuses to be reexamined.
I have seen some horrific things. But I have never seen anything as inhumane as the American meat industry. We are allegedly a “developed” nation, however we treat our animals in a way that would horrify many in the third world. We have the chance to change this and I believe we can.
While we wait patiently for the meat industry and the USDA to regulate themselves, consumers have another option. There are farmers in every region who treat their animals with humanity and care. Seek them out and show them that conscientious farming is valuable, to the animals and the consumer.
You can make a difference.
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