Monday, February 18, 2008

I wrote this letter...

Rising to the top of things that piss me off today is the completely unsurprising story of abuse at the Westland/Hallmark slaughterhouse. Doesn't it just about make your head explode when people express shock at "abuse" in slaughterhouses? I wrote a letter to the Fargo Forum about it...we'll see if it gets printed. If not, I have the massive power of Vegan for the People as my soapbox:

This week news broke of the biggest beef recall in U.S. history. Workers at the Westland/Hallmark beef packing plant in California were filmed ramming downed animals with forklifts and spraying high-pressure water into their mouths and nostrils. This was in order to force the animals, which were too sick or exhausted to move, to get up and walk into the slaughterhouse.
As a result, something like 70 million tons of meat have been recalled from restaurants, grocery stores, and school cafeterias. The logic is that animals too sick to walk can infect the “product” with whatever is making them too sick to walk. There was reflexive talk of “mad cow“ disease in the news coverage, but that is not the issue here. Animals at the business end of modern agriculture don’t need mad cow disease to force them to the ground.
The brutality at the plant was recorded on undercover video from the Humane Society of the United States. We only know about it because somebody was brave enough to break a law and sneak a camera onto the floor. Westland/Hallmark is a mammoth American company under the watchful eye of the USDA and health inspectors and the rest, and this is the kind of thing that happens at work in the morning.
It is no leap to assume this stuff happens at animal processing plants without undercover cameras. The walls around industrial livestock operations in this country grow higher every year, and transparency wouldn’t help the bottom line. We need a business-friendly environment, you know, free of government interference and those nutty animal welfare people. Nobody needs to see where the groceries come from. I'm off to eat some pudding...

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