Scratch lightly on the surface of our ‘civilized’ society and you will find ever more reasons to be vegetarian and vegan. The meat industry and commercial dairy industry are absolutely disgusting but as long as the murdered flesh all comes out in nice styrofoam packages (designed to soak up the blood) and hermetically sealed so you cannot picture the animal dying in agony a few days prior, you will keep buying and eating it. As long as this type of abuse stays hidden from our view and it all seems ‘sanitized’. People say ‘oh yes it’s really terrible, but I love eating meat and can’t give it up.’ I wish a lot of these people had to kill their own cow (maybe after raising it for 5 years for milk first) so that I’d at least have some respect for their sorry wishy washy fat asses, hardening arteries and cholesterol clogged hearts.
The recent proof of the torture of animals before they were slaughtered (to try to force downed weakened animals to walk to their deaths so they could still be sold as meat for consumption) was found at a California slaughter house that was dedicated to killing dairy cows – cows that grow up being sociable and used to humans and which many people think of as a ‘nice’ industry to animals. Yes, not only do these cow’s children get taken away from them while still nursing age each spring so you can eat veal, but after about 5 years of being ‘nice pretty dairy cows’ and living in a social herd, they are given thanks in torture and then slaughter when their milk production drops. Don’t think your cheese doesn’t come at as high a price as meat, especially if you eat cheap commercial cheeses from giant factory farms who treat their cows as mere commodities, and not as living beings.
Here is an excerpt from an Australia Herald Sun article (if you did not already hear about it) – my editorial comments are in parentheses prefixed by ‘ed’:
A CALIFORNIA slaughterhouse has been accused of using controversial waterboarding torture on unfit cattle to rouse them long enough to pass inspection.
The Humane Society has released a video showing workers kicking cows, ramming them with forklift blades, applying electric shocks and even using a hose to simulate the feeling of drowning so the animals would revive long enough to pass federal inspection for slaughter.
“The attempt was to make them so distressed and to cause them so much suffering that these animals would get up and walk into the slaughterhouse,” said Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle.
The company was not immediately available for comment. (ed. … no shit! how surprising!)
Mr Pacelle said the plant supplied meat to the Westland Meat Co, the second largest supplier of beef to the USDA Commodity Procurement Program Branch which distributes beef to needy families, the elderly and to the national school lunch program. (ed – ie people who don’t “matter” in our society and who no one complains too loudly or quickly about if a few of them later will get mad cow disease or any other illness one gets from eating sick and already dying animals – what this article doesn’t mention and what a few other articles do mention is that this slaughter house specializes in offing dairy cows).
If people would truly own up to what they want to eat, you’d all be paying about 10 times more for meat and dairy that was produced ‘humanely’ (I still don’t call it humane to murder something in order to eat it, but let’s just for a moment give them a point that treating something with respect until you murder it is better than treating it cruelly all it’s life until you murder it) – but instead consumers demand cheaper and cheaper food – and so factory farming is a booming industry (as they are the only ones with techniques barbaric enough to be able to undercut the prices from raising meat on a ‘real’ farm), and look – we all have to live with the hideous after effects it has on our culture, health and environment. From vegetables with less nutrition, less flavor and more poison due to overfarming, pesticides and chemical fertilizers to blatent torture, sickening living condition and poisoning of animals with antibiotics and other drugs to keep them alive in those horrible conditions long enough to later murder them so they can end up on your plate for lunch. And then of course this all has great effects on the ecosystem and our water supply and our ever growing heaps of waste as we further package and then irradiate this shit so that it won’t go off too fast. Bon appetite!
Oh, and if they shut this one slaughter house down for a few days and fire these employees … so what. First of all that slaughter house has a very high turnover (from reading an interview with the guy who took the videos people hardly stay a week or more on the job) – so firing someone for doing this is irrelvant in many ways as it does not get to the root of the problem at the very TOP of that company – clearly this was a systemic practice done as part of the normal business or these short term employees would never have thought to do these actions randomly. Meat cannot be cheap unless this type of activity goes on. Large agribusiness firms will just export this type of torture over the border to Mexican slaughter houses (as they do now with US horse slaughter) if we crack down in the US, and the animals will have to endure an even longer truckride to their own personal Dachaus.
How about people start to pony up and pay what meat really costs first of all (the way they had to start to do with cigarettes by paying for the rising costs of health care due to smoking related illnesses), and we put some regulation on ‘low balling’ meat prices which encourage this type of barbarism to start with? How about we put in place regulations that every meat producer is required to be ORGANIC to start with, and nationally encourage vegan or vegetarianism? I suppose that is too ‘radical’ for any politician to propose, but frankly it’s the only moral and ecologically correct solution. Maybe federal programs should be required to pay HIGHER rather than lower prices for their meat (yeah, this slaughter house kills Bessie for the feds) or maybe meat should be off the menu for the ‘needy’ and they should eat federally subsidized organic healthier and cheaper vegetarian diets instead.
I liked this comment by Gene Baur, and think is Farm Sanctuary program is great – I only wish more people thought this way.
Comment by Gene Baur, President and co-founder, Farm Sanctuary
Cruelty Witnessed at Hallmark/Westland Slaughterhouse Not Unique
For decades, I have traveled around the U.S. documenting conditions on today’s farms. Besides seeing animals confined in cages where they can barely move, I have found living animals in trash cans and ‘downed animals’ (those too sick to stand) discarded as dead. Farm Sanctuary was founded with the rescue of Hilda, a non-ambulatory sheep who was too sick to stand and had been discarded on a pile of dead animals behind Lancaster Stockyards in Pennsylvania. Ever since Hilda’s rescue in 1986, Farm Sanctuary has campaigned to end the marketing and slaughter of downed animals. These animals suffer inexcusable cruelty, and eating them poses a threat to human health.After the U.S.D.A. announced the discovery of mad cow disease in the U.S. at the end of 2003, the Agency finally adopted a policy to prohibit the use of downed cattle in the food supply, which Farm Sanctuary had been urging since the mid 1980s. At the time, we were engaged in litigation against the U.S.D.A. to ban downers in the food supply. In fact, less than two weeks prior to the U.S.D.A. admitting mad cow disease existed in the U.S., Farm Sanctuary won an important court decision, which would have allowed our case to proceed. After confirming mad cow disease in the U.S., the U.S.D.A. admitted that downed cattle pose a threat to human health, and agreed to keep these animals out of the food supply. With this policy in place, our legal case was settled.Unfortunately, the U.S.D.A. “no downer” policy has been undermined by agribusiness’ interest in making a few extra dollars by slaughtering sick animals for human food, and by it’s own failure to implement a clear position. Over the years, the U.S.D.A. has allowed loopholes and judgment calls to be made in order to allow downed animals to be used for food. This led to the abuse recently documented at the Hallmark slaughterhouse in Chino, CA. In the absence of a clear and strictly enforced policy that bans the marketing and slaughter of downed animals, problems will continue.Farm Sanctuary is asking that Congress pass the Downed Animal Protection and Food Safety Act (H.R. 661, S. 394) which would prohibit the slaughter of cattle, and other downed animals including pigs, sheep and other livestock for human food. This bill will help remedy the shortcomings of current USDA regulations regarding downed animals by requiring the immediate, humane euthanasia of all animals who become nonambulatory.Finally, to add some perspective to this massive recall of 143 million pounds of beef — which has been widely reported to equate to two burgers for every man, woman and child in the U.S. — this number also equates to around 200,000 cows. These were mainly dairy cows — sensitive, social creatures pushed to their biological limits until their milk levels dropped and they were “spent”, no longer profitable to an industry that views them as economic units of production. Modern dairy cows only last a few years in production and before they are worn out and go to slaughter. Most are killed at by their fifth birthday. In contrast, at Farm Sanctuary we have rescued dairy cows who have lived more than 20 years.