Saturday, February 23, 2008

There's no excuse...

If you have the stomach for it, put down your hamburger and check out
the disturbing videos at
You know what I’m talking about. Unless you’ve been living under a
rock this week, you’ve had to have seen either portions of the videos
or still photography of the wretched abuse at a California
Certainly you’ve seen those poor decrepit dairy cows being tortured
and abused by slaughterhouse workers, just so that a few more bucks --
and hamburgers -- could be made.
Go ahead and call me an animal-loving liberal.
I don’t care. Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows that I have
a soft spot for animals -- and not just cats.
I despise seeing animals abandoned or abused, even those that are
part of the food chain.
And I’m not naive enough to think that everything runs according to
law everywhere, every time, when it comes to slaughterhouses.
Having grown up on a farm, I do, however, know that not every animal is
a pet; I know that many are raised to supply food for people.
That does not mean that they have to be mistreated, tortured, beaten --
you name it -- as was so hideously revealed this week in the footage
shot by an undercover Humane Society worker.
Publicizing this information led to the largest beef recall in U.S.
The recall part doesn’t affect me directly, since I haven’t eaten
meat for at least 15 years, probably longer.
And I don’t have any children in schools -- yes, our local schools
were affected -- where a great deal of the meat had been delivered.
After all, this meat was being processed by the largest supplier of ground
meat to the national school lunch program.
As we learned this week, some of the meat was coming from “downer”
dairy cows -- cows that are no longer of value to a dairy farmer
because they aren’t producing enough milk, but also are too sick, too old
or too disabled to walk.
They are supposed to be humanely euthanized if found to be in this
state, not run over by forklifts, stabbed in the eyes with electric prods
or otherwise savagely tortured in an effort to get them to stand so that
they can be slaughtered.
See, there are laws that downer cows can’t be slaughtered for meat.
It only makes sense if you think about it.
But can you even fathom the horrible pain these animals suffered for
hours on end, some of them dragged through manure, pulled with chains
hooked to their legs?
Just try to imagine, if you can.
There is no excuse for this, none at all. And how people working at
these facilities could be at the “performing” end of these atrocities
is beyond me.
I realize that past-their-prime dairy cows are a prime source of
hamburger; grind up the old ladies and there you go. That shouldn’t come as
a surprise to anyone.
But even a used-up cow deserves a humane end to her life.
Will this expose actually make a difference? Will it cause the
government to take a stronger role? Will it suddenly instill ethics into those
running some of these slaughterhouses?
What do you think?
Pardon me if I’m a bit cynical when it comes to answering those
If you haven’t seen these videos yet, try to watch at least part of
But perhaps you’ll want do to so without a hamburger in your hand.

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