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.
According to Wallaces Farmer and the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA), area feedlot operators were on 24-hour duty attempting to keep cattle cool during a rapid temperature increase in the final week of June. When routine practices such as providing shelter and shade were in many cases not enough, many feedlots activated sprinkler systems to cool both the cattle and ground temperatures. Despite these efforts, reported losses from affected regions range from 40 to 80 head. However, a loss of up to 160 head in one feedlot has been reported.
These losses are an outcome of putting animals in unnatural environments. Animal Welfare Approved promotes farming systems which minimize stress, and has standards which require farms to have a health plan in place that addresses extreme weather.
The ICA is leading the charge to secure federal funding to compensate farmers for cattle lost to heat stress.
Let’s not seek compensation; let’s change the flawed system.