Meat eaters, I've got a hair-raising story for you today. Vegetarians, this is going to make your heads explode with outrage. An undercover video by animal rights group Compassion Over Killing has blown the top off a beef slaughterhouse in California. The footage is so disturbing the slaughterhouse has been shut down.
Not only is this a USDA-inspected plant, it's a plant that produced beef for government programs like, oh, I don't know, probably school lunches! So what do you do when you find out that your hamburger came from a sick, tortured cow? Or your kids' taco meat? Because now the USDA is trying to find out if that meat from sick, tortured cows is out on store shelves and cafeterias.
The four hours of video show visibly sick cows struggling to move on wobbling legs while workers shock and kick them. It also shows a cow who is still conscious and struggling getting hoisted upside-down by the hoof to have its throat slit (cows are supposed to be stunned into unconsciousness first). And another worker stands on the muzzle of a cow to smother it when the stun gun fails. According to Compassion Over Killing the video was taken by an employee of the plant over a two-week period.
These are retired dairy cows, by the way. Older dairy cows are often slaughtered for products like hot dogs and ground beef. Older within reason, of course. Not on-the-verge-of-collapse old. Also, there were two on-site USDA inspectors who failed to report the alleged abuse. I don't know if they've been fired but kinda looks like they weren't doing their job. I'm just saying. Would you trust those two to inspect your meat?
Now ... a lot of people think just the idea of killing an animal for meat is inhumane. I'm a meat eater, and I believe there are methods for safely and humanely killing animals. It's NOT supposed to look like this. It's supposed to look more like this.
I'm relieved that In-N-Out Burger severed ties with the company as soon as they heard of the video. Then McDonald's and the USDA suspended buys from the slaughterhouse. I hope any other fast food restaurants supplied by the plant do the same! Seriously fast food chain owners, better take care of that ASAP because if a reporter snoops out that you're still cozy with this company, it's not going to look good.
So what does the company have to say for itself? They're "cooperating" with an investigation (duh). And they're hiring a PR company, obviously. Wow, you know something stinks when a company hires a spin doctor. Here's the carefully crafted non-apology they came up with:
Central Valley Meat takes these issues very seriously and is now developing a plan of action to present to (the Food Safety Inspection Service) to remedy any potential violations of USDA guidelines. Based on our own investigation and 30 years of producing safe, high-quality US beef, we are confident these concerns post no food safety issues.
Riiiight. Well I guess we'll see. As of this morning no recall has been issued for the plant. But I still wouldn't want to eat that meat.
How do you feel about your meat when you hear about abuse like this?
Image via lizzardo/Flickr