Downer and out: Will this be the cow-tipping point for the U.S. beef industry?

The Humane Society has managed to get graphic footage of workers at a California slaughterhouse using forklifts, high-pressure water sprays, wooden sticks, and electric shocks to get sick cattle up on their feet so they can pass USDA inspection and be processed into America's food supply. Filmed by an undercover worker, the footage is absolutely horrifying for anyone who cares a smidgeon about animal welfare. But it's also really, really bad news from a food-safety perspective.

As Rick Weiss explains in today's Washington Post, there is a reason so-called "downer cows" are not allowed into the food supply. They could very well have mad-cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, which is transmissible to humans. They are also covered in manure from being dragged and rolled, the E. coli from which has an unfortunate tendency of getting into the meat when these animals are then slaughtered.

So who's been eating this beef? The company in the video — Hallmark Meat Packing in Chino, CA — sells meat to Westland Meat Co., which is a major supplier of school lunch programs around the U.S. Westland has sold about 100 million pounds of frozen beef since 2002 to the USDA's commodities program. Expect a real media shitstorm over this one.

But not to worry — the United States hasn't had any major outbreaks of mad-cow disease. Of course, that could be because we haven't looked very hard. There are 97 million cattle in this country. In 2004, a busy year for the USDA, the agency tested 759,000 cattle and found three to be infected. That's a sample rate of less than 1 percent. I don't find that reassuring, and it's just one of the reasons I don't eat U.S. commodity beef.

Apparently Westland and the USDA were caught entirely unawares by the Humane Society video. Weiss quotes Westland President Steve Mendell, who is also Hallmark's operations manager, as saying the allegations were "impossible."

The USDA has just released a statement by Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer in response:

The USDA has indefinitely suspended Westland Meat Company as a supplier to Federal food and nutrition programs. Westland Meat Company will not be permitted to produce or deliver any products currently under contract. Under the suspension, no further contracts will be awarded to Westland Meat Company. The suspension will remain in effect until all investigations are complete and appropriate action is taken by the Department. An administrative hold has been placed on all Westland Meat Products that are in, or destined for Federal food and nutrition programs.

In his statement, Schafer rather grumpily reproaches the Humane Society for not contacting the agency directly as soon as it learned of the violations. "Had we known at the time the alleged violations occurred, we would have initiated our investigation sooner, and taken appropriate actions at that time," he says.

The USDA had ample opportunities to discover what was going on. An inspector visited the Westland plant twice a day at the same exact time — always a great way to keep tabs on something. Do health inspectors tell restaurants when they're coming through?

The meat industry in this country is broken from start to finish. We take ruminants and feed them grain their stomachs weren't designed to eat, treating them like garbage disposals for our industrial leftovers; implant steroids so they'll grow faster; feed them antibiotics so they can survive the poor diets and crowded feedlot conditions; then ship them to slaughterhouses where they are killed and processed at speeds that practically beg for bacterial contamination and worker injuries.

What will it take to get Americans to stop eating beef that's been marinated in E. coli and suffering? At what point will we say enough is enough?

74 Responsesto “Downer and out: Will this be the cow-tipping point for the U.S. beef industry?”

  1. Linda says:

    This really is the final straw...and will make it extremely difficult to restore trust in purchase of any beef unless we know exactly where it came from. If there only WERE more farms with wide national distribution that raised humanely, fed appropriately, and even slaughtered on premises where possible...maybe that is wishful thinking, but what to do in the meanwhile besides opting for a vegetarian diet?

  2. Jo says:

    How horrifying to watch this video! I've been an advocate for humane euthansia for "downers" for some time and commend the Humane Society for exposing this travesty. USDA Secretary Schafer must be joking if he thinks that his agency could have done a better job than the Humane Society at exposing this problem. HSUS has an excellent track record of exposing inhumane animal treatment and results have been speedy and appropriate. Beyond the ethical treatment is the larger issue of food safety. It's time for Americans to stand up and tell government that we're tired of being exposed to toxic food that "somehow" passes through the system onto our plates. I'm encouraged to see the start of small organic ranching operations in our state (Montana) that insure animals for consumption are properly fed, cared for and slaughtered. Hopefully the federal gov't will consider subsidizing these operations to encourage their growth.

  3. On the subject of testing for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the USDA has fought hard against a Kansas meat company (Creekstone Farms Premium Beef) that has the unbridled temerity to want to test all of its meat for BSE. The company argues that testing would greatly improve the meat's marketability in Asia and other countries. The USDA and its Big Meat allies claim that false positives would damage the industry's reputation and cost too much money (I don't recall the USDA ever asking the public about this, or giving the public a chance to choose between meat labeled as "tested for BSE" and "almost certainly untested for BSE.")

  4. Mary Ellen Candra says:

    I am truly sickened by this. I certainly hope EVERYONE is as well. The USDA is referring to this as "alleged abuse." (Check their website) Did they not see the video? There is nothing alleged about it. I absolutely believe that all at Hallmark and Westland knew about this the entire time, as do all owners/ management in this industry. You DO know what occurs in your business unless you live under a rock. It's time for a congressional hearing. You don't have to side with the Humane Society on all things, but how can you feel anything but contempt about this?

  5. K says:

    THREE CHEERS FOR THE HUMANE SOCIETY. We would be blind to these horrible people without you. As a previous poster stated, "Westland knew about this the entire time, as do all owners/ management in this industry. You DO know what occurs in your business unless you live under a rock" I COULD NOT AGREE MORE. They need to be held responsible. How is this going to happen? Can someone please email me and let me know what is going to happen in order for this company to WAKE UP and TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for the cruelty and human hate that these animals DO NOT DESERVE?

    These people beat, neglect and electrocute these animals all the time because of their own shortcomings. Stop taking out your anger on defenseless animals. Pathetic, disgusting horrible people.

  6. Paige says:

    It is absolutely appalling what is being done to these animals. Horrifying as it may be, it seems this kind of exposure is necessary and crucial for the American people to wake up, and to do something about this travesty. Vegan or not, this is ridiculous, inhumane, and just flat out should not be allowed. Thank you for sharing this timely post.

    -Paige

  7. Charlotte says:

    They showed bits of the footage on our local news here tonight in Montana -- with an explicit connection to the fact that these cattle had been fed to kids. Ugh. Poor things -- there's no excuse for this kind of thing ...

  8. Kei says:

    Truly, truly appalling and heartbreaking.

  9. OCStandard says:

    This video sickens me to the core. The pure lack of humanity is shocking. It is so heart breaking on many levels of course the obvious abuse of the animal. But to think that this trickels down to kids is also disturbing.
    It is long overdue that we end this horrific treatment of any living thing.

  10. dwoods says:

    Same guy has Westland Meat Company and Hallmark Meat Packing.

    Company Info Is:

    Westland Meat Company
    13677 Yorba Ave.
    Chino, CA 91710
    909-590-3340

    Email is: i...@westlandmeat.com

    Their website is: http://westlandmeat.com/westland%20contact.htm

    The Home button is an apology letter.

    Check out the lone picture of a plaque "Supplier Of The Year 2004-2005"

  11. Sammy says:

    The stuff that nightmares are made of....

  12. Jen says:

    This is so incredibly appalling, though honestly not too much of a surprise. Anyone who thinks that the conventional meat industry respects animal welfare and has good husbandry practices needs a reality check.

    On a slightly different note, I have been reading 'The River Cottage Meat Book' by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and it has one of the best discussions about the ethical meat choices that I've seen so far. Thumbs up to HFW for championing ethical meat production.

  13. The Gobbler says:

    I had heard about this practice before. Eric Schlosser wrote that some of the worst meat practices were commited by companies who provide beef for your school lunch programs, hospitals & other institutions.
    The rapacious need for beef to be made cheaper & chaeper goes a long way to de-humanise the way we process these animals & this videa shows this in all of its shameful glory. Think about this video for a second when you just want a burger because its convenient.

  14. Jenna says:

    The good and the bad of reding your well informed site -

    Great info, helps keep me on my toes and informed about what I put in my families bellies. Also very well presented.

    Bad?

    Sometimes, while I always end up glad to know and to be a better informed consumer.... I end up living on oatmeal for a day or two after reading. (Shudder)

    Makes me very glad I have managed to find a small local farm/butcher to procure my meat from. Vote with your dollars and the industry will have no choice but to listen.

    Thanks for all the great reading.

  15. Leslie says:

    This doesn't mean that we all need to go vegetarian. We can almost certainly make a bigger statement by supporting small, local producers--with all that we know about the benefits of eating local (not the least of which is food safety, but other benefits obviously include supporting local economies as opposed to agribusiness, and fewer fossil fuels involved in the transport of nationally-distributed food) we should all be doing our best to source all kinds of food from local suppliers. The Eat Well Guide (www.eatwellguide.org) lists over 12k family farms, markets, food co-ops, and restaurants that source local, sustainably-produced foods.

    Oh and Mark--thanks for posting about Creekstone Farms--that was one of the first things I thought of when I read this post. Insanity.

  16. Mike says:

    I like many other Americans was horrified and shocked to see such inhumane treatment of these animals. Being outraged at the emploees is only the start. In reviewing the footage it does not appear to be happening in some back lot but in broad daylight so what needs to be addressed is not just suspending the supervisor but the USDA needs to make a statement that although we know that everything in business in this country is driven by the all mighty dollar when you avoid the rules to make a dollar at the cost of the publics health as has been explained as to downer cattle this company after the "investigation" is completed should be shut down permanently this had to be going on for some time hey where did the employee acquire these devices of torture that they were using on these defenseless animals. Better yet being so outraged by this how would anyone feel animal or beast knowing that you are going to be buthered? I think the fight or flight senario fits well here these animals were exhausted and afraid there has to be a better way to bring cattle into the market for slaughter. I again am appalled that this company aparently wanting to make the all mighty dollar throws compassion to the wind because you know it is only an animal. In reviewing this situation if the USDA inspector arrives two times daily at this location but always at the same time everyday has the inspectors ever actually went out into the feed lots to inspect the lot? Surely this would have been visible to see. Obviously the workers were trying to get these poor beasts to be able to stand in line for inspection so that they could make their dollar. I would hope that an inspector would be able to view an animal and be able to tell that the animal is in distress. Maybe we need to have inspectors come without notice and without the government vehicle pulling up in the parking lot. Apparently we may need to have a vetinarian statined at every slaughter house to be able to examine the animal and to ensure we are being given the meat we expect but also to ensure the animals are humanley treated. After watching the video I thought that I watching the book I read as a youth the "Slaughterhouse" surely we have progressed since that era. In closing what is alarming is that although I appreciate a good steak as well as pork and chicken products it appears that as a Nation that is so blessed with wealth we may benefit from showing compassion to the beasts that help keep this country strong food wise. Compassion and caring are traits that go so much further than a buck.

  17. Cord says:

    Horrifying, but hardly surprising. I mean, think about it. These are people who kill animals-- all day, every day-- for a living. I am told the job either attracts or creates sadists. Like a repetitive stress injury to the psyche. It's not quite fair to gasp and say "gosh, what awful people!" when the problem is the assembly-line system that fosters this behavior. You can probably find casual cruelty in *any* factory slaughterhouse, though I doubt the expose will cause any kind of systemic change as long as people can convince themselves it was just this one company. An aberration.

    Certainly, it's an argument for localized, small-scale meat processing with more transparency.

  18. Kim says:

    Well, now whenever I am unsure of the source of the beef presented to me, I will be a vegetarian. I simply cannot be a party to this. Not even a little.

    Thank God I hunt and already buy my beef from a local rancher who I trust.

  19. Cheri says:

    The thing is has anyone ever noticed that every time we see a story about the "beef" industry weather it be about an e-coli out break or mad cow disease or one such as this about downer cows at a meat packing company the cows that they are really talking about are always dairy animals and never actual beef cattle. Wake up America!!!! The dairymen are passing off their old used up cows as lean beef! It is not beef at all it is dairy stock that you are buying at the store as lean beef unless it is actually labeled as hereford or angus.
    I for one will not buy this stuff!

  20. Jovy says:

    I saw the HALLMARK MEAT PACKING / WESTLAND MEAT COMPANY footage on the news tonight and have been beside myself with horror ever since. This has not only made me a vegetarian but it has made me an activist. I felt I was viewing scenes from hell. What kind of walking sewage could allow such abuse and torture to continue. What kind of human garbage would hold such a job, good lord to think people like that exist among us. Like most Americans I always assumed that farm animals were humanely put to death with a quick stun to the head of some sort and really I was too cowardly to give it any deep thought as it is not a pleasant subject but that such horrors could be tolerated and encouraged on a daily basis over a period of years is almost too hideous to even contemplate. I should not even be trying to type right now, I am too upset to be coherent.

  21. Dianna says:

    I could not agree more with these postings but one more thing. Has anyone noticed these abused cattle were Holsteins? Apparently they were coming from dairy herds that supply our milk! Think about it. Have you ever visited one of these "dairy farms?" Well, I have and it is not pretty.

  22. Pete says:

    The only thing that makes me feel good about this is all the comments I've read from people who are very concerned about the state of the Beef industry. The "manufacturing" aspects of this just makes me sick. Kudos on your site. We must eat to live, but if it means this, well, Having another hamburger just ain't worth it. If we aren't careful on this earth soylent green might be our next big meat product. I'd rather eat that than cows now... We can make it out of the cow abusers. There seem to be plenty of those. Celery anyone ?

  23. Blippy says:

    I must admit I'm not too shocked, though I am saddened. Because, like someone previously said, the type of person who could work in a plant like this is the type of person who would do this to animals. You'd have to be.

    I think the US public is slowly, SLOWLY coming around to realizing that there's no "humane" way of slaughtering, en mass, zillions of animals for our chomping pleasure.

    But meat tastes so damn good! :(

  24. meg bunce says:

    This video provided by the HSUS provides us with the graphic knowledge of the abuse a farm factory animal goes through up to the last second of its miserable life. The men in this video used their machinery like pros and knew exactly where it hurts when ruthlessly trying to get an animal to move. It was obviously a common practice and they were all too happy to try and try again. I would not be surprised if even after shooting the cow that they wouldn't quarter it up right where they shot it and throw it in with the rest of the slaughtered herd. These dairy cows are milked to infection, until they are of no use and then it is off to slaughter. Check out the life of a Dairy Cow and other farm factory animals on the HSUS.org website. I felt like I just crawled out from under a rock when I realized just what goes on in the food cycle.
    Americans have got to take the time to write their legislators, and speak out for these animals that have no voice. It is important for the health of our children, ourselves, but also extremely important to assure and demand humane treatment of animals in the food chain or otherwise.

  25. I raise chickens, sheep and goats for meat. I completely process the chickens, from alive to your table (if you reserved way in advance :) ). I am responsible for everything that happens to them.

    I bring the others to a small plant 2 hours from my farm. I am responsible for what happens to them.

    I eat some meat that others raise and process and sell to me. I am responsible for what happens to them.

    Brother David says "Eating is a Moral Act". This does not mean it is automatically good or bad. It means that it is subject to judgement - you need to think about what you are doing.

    It does mean that if you eat one of my lamb chops or chicken wings, you are as responsible as I am for what happened to the animal that owned it. I like the folks who verify what I tell them better than the ones who trust me - they understand this.

    There certainly are humane ways of killing and processing meat. Use a search engine and look for 'Dr. Temple Grandin' and read a little. Come with me to the facility I use and talk to the owner (who is on the floor working most of the time, not sitting in his comfy office).

    One thing I find most horrid about this latest slaughter story is that millions of children will feel responsible for their own moral act and the adults they implicitly trust to guide them honestly and with care. They learn a hard lesson this day, not about in-humane treatment, which they are better aware of than many adults, but about trust and personal responsibility. I hope somebody has brains enough to tell them that

    The message is clear. Every person must know how what they eat was created, nurtured and prepared, and judge for themselves whether the process is acceptable to them.

    It takes some thought and care to be humane.

  26. nancy says:

    I am sickened by the video...I mean it...I feel ill. I have gone from veggy to meat eater and back again.
    I will not be eating any meat for a very long time and have sent around the video from youtube. I hope we can change this tragic treatment of helpless animals.
    God bless the Beasts and the Children.\
    I feel so personally dirty for having been a small part in those animals misery.

  27. Brandi says:

    This is absolutly disgusting, how can these people live their lives knowing the pain they caused to these poor animals? IT'S SICK!!! Its sad enough that they are there to die why do you have to torture them and hurt them before their going to be slaughtered?? I just dont understand how someone can live with them selves after doing such disgusting horrible acts to these poor animals. NOT to mention the witnesses that dont say anything!! What is it that would cause someone to so such disgusting vial things to a living thing. These animals do not diserve to be slaughtered let alone tortured just to entertain a sad excuse for a human.
    I am an animal lover and 100% animal rigts activist, I hope more people see this and get involved with animal rights. This vial behavior is unreal and sickening!!!

  28. Laura says:

    Check out Mark Bittman's NY Times article of January 27, titled "Rethinking the meat guzzler." It addresses the horrific environmental impacts of the meat industry. Only one brief mention about animal welfare, but the article will scare you silly anyway.

    That'll give you another reason to go vegetarian!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/weekinreview/27bittman.html?scp=1&sq=meat+guzzler&st=nyt

  29. Um no.

    It is another reason to take personal responsibility for knowing exactly how what you are eating got from where it was to wherever you eat it.

  30. Dani G. says:

    If I were God, there would be hell to pay. Our school kids are eating this tainted food, so is it any wonder we have problems with health and behavior? Imagine the adrenalin rush of these animals, the stress chemicals, that humans then ingest. Is this not obvious to everyone, or have we really become so disconnected from the science of nature that we can't comprehend it?

  31. Susan T says:

    While there are certainly well thought-out comments here, I am clearly disappointed that so many people hang on to their love of animal flesh with fists clenched so tightly it would take an electric prod to release them!!

    Of course meat tastes good but every day there's more information revealed that consuming so much of it is the cause of many modern day ailments plaguing mankind. Not only that, the whole process of raising cattle is extremely degrading to the environment and our atmosphere.

    Regardless of how well local farmers may treat their animals, it comes down to this--you decide that your taste buds are more important than that creature's life. You happily dismiss the idea that a cow, sheep, lamb, goat, pig, etc. may indeed want to live. When I read the slogan,
    "If animals could speak, we'd all be vegetarians", I truly wondered if we would be? Meat is almost like a drug to many people. Men in particular can't seem to get through a meal without the lump of animal flesh. Some would eat it as a dessert if there was such a thing. I'm not a psychologist or expert in the human mind, but it makes me wonder about people when they push their feelings of compassion aside when it comes to eating other beings.

  32. Bea E. says:

    One of the saddest things about these poor cows is the miserable lives they lead on dairy factory farms. Left in a constant cycle of impregnation and milking - Never once being able to nurse their own calves. Male non-veal calves are often slaughtered within hours of birth. Females are fed a mixture of cow blood called colostrum. guess that's why it's called "franken-food". No Milk - No Meat - No Problem.... For health & heart - Go vegan!

  33. Jenna says:

    There always seems to be a bit of missunderstanding in the vegan logic to me. Today's animals are far removed from their early cousins... there are no free flocks of chickens roaming the countryside, milk cows today will DIE unless they are milked daily (and sorry, no calf is capable of managing the output).

    What do we do with creatures created to be part of the food supply? We are, no matter how much we may rail about it, an industrial society. Simply opening the gates and "freeing" animals would mean mass starvation, illness, and sudden death. Not for us... for THEM.

    Animals EAT animals. We are, no matter how many Brooks Brother suits we own or computer chips we create - animals. It is our responsibility to raise then humanly, to care for them, when the time comes to set them into the wheel - do it cleanly and quickly... and waste nothing. Turn away from the mass production of meat, but to decide we all need to become vegan seems unbalanced.

    One last thing. Colostrum? Not cow blood. Its the first milking after giving birth, full of more calories and nutrients then any subsequent milking. (The same as a woman's first milk for a newborn is far richer then anything else she will produce for her child in breastfeeding.) It contains antibodies that help keep a calf from becoming ill. It is this that gives a calf a healthy start to their life. If you are going to rail about the society - please take the time to learn what you are railing about. Perpetuating the monster view of cows being forced fed blood pulls down your own argument. I can respect any view given to me if the time is taken to research and truely understand what you are chanting - but with comments like that you invalidate all the good you may have done.

  34. Sally Ward says:

    Hmmmm.... where to these animals come from? Not one mention as to the supplier of the cows. Who let them get this far, this sick? What about "school lunch"? This one establishment got busted, after how long.... operating under these practices? What else are we feeding our children? If we really took responsibility, I do mean "we", what are our options? Dah, hows about local, independently owned and operated farms? Everyone probably knows a farmer, who is barely surviving because our demand for cheap, fast ANYTHING has taken us over. Wheres the disconnect? How can we treat animals so inhumanly? The same disconnect that enables us as a society to condone this travesty, also allows us the ability to turn a blind eye and accept contaminated food being served to our children.

  35. Amanda Rose says:

    I agree Jenna. I expect my appreciation for colostrum came when I produced it myself and my body put immunities in my milk, made to order, according to what my son was exposed to. This is the missing link in the dairy industry -- calves are bottle-fed colostrum so it is not custom tailored for the calf though I suppose it would be tailored for the herd in that case.

  36. Bea E. says:

    Jenna.... I stand corrected on colostrum....

    Dairy calves are kept with their mother for at least 2 hours to allow the calf to drink the colostrum, or antibody rich first milk. The cow is then moved to the milk string barn. The calves are kept in individual hutches to protect them from spreading diseases to one another. The calves (now 3 hours old) are fed "milk-replacer' and grain, twice a day.

    Animal Sciences and Agricultural Education
    http://cast.csufresno.edu/asae/animal%20production%20units.htm

    Purina Mills sells "milk-replacer" - and touts that their product reduces calf (1 - 5) mortality rate.

    So.... now, calves have such a low immunity level that they're spreading diseases to each other? And mom cow is back on the milk string or milking palor (making cheese, ice cream and butter) while her calf is fed "replacer".... Sorry.... that's too perturbing for my plate.

    And what does "milk replacer"? Or "Mother's Match 28-20 Intensified" contain? Immunoglobulin, which is derived from blood plasma. It's collected at the slaughter houses -

    Pennfield Corp has an excellent site with their calf and dairy cow feeds.... Look for yourself - it's a pharmacalogical wonderland! Not finding any grass here for sure.....

    http://www.dairyfeed.com/#DairyServices

    Jenna, your arguement asked "What do we do with creatures created to be part of the food supply?". They are NOT part of MY food supply. In fact, growing "meat products" is contaiminating my food crops, rivers and air. Making meat creates billions of tons of toxic poop.... high in nitrogen, phosphorus and methane. Not to mention the huge amounts of water needed to raise meat. And the corn/grain, energy to process, package, transport and keep frozen.

    Given this list of negatives, the market for meat should extinguish itself. Then these animals would no longer be (artificially) bred (soon to be cloned) by the billions. Their only in the billions now because of profits and corporate greed.

    Once this MEat culture dies - sustainable amounts of animals would return into the care of compassionate stewards and land guardians. True farmers, not unit processors.

    Perhaps then the current high calf mortality rate would cease. Long before factory farms admisistered this plethora of antibiotics and drugs - moms & calves were doing just fine.... Never on an extinction list that I knew of.

    Oh, and this "setting them to the wheel".... and the quickness, and the mercy and all that..... For me it's a circle - It goes: Birth, Life, Death. Not Birth, Life, Be Killed.

    For heart & health - Go Vegan!

  37. Bea E. says:

    To Sally.... I think you'll find that these cows came from everywhere. From Canada, throughout the US coast, Mexico and now with NAFTA from South America. This slaughter plant processes tens of thousands of cows a week - Fulfilling contracts placed weeks/months prior. Livestock is a futures commodity market. Foods your kids will eat next month were negotiated long ago - to the lowest bidder....

    Our government purchases billions of tons of MEat from (the lowest) bidders world-wide. These allocation go to schools, institutions and other food distributing programs.

    Data can be seen at:
    http://www.ams.usda.gov/lscp/index.htm

    Shutting down this one plant only makes the manufacture of MEat that much more hurried and apt to err. In such a frantic environment, yes, the cow(s) suffer - but so does the consumer, sooner or later -

    Slaughterhouse statistics are staggering:
    http://www.ams.usda.gov/lsmnpubs/Live.htm

    It's only a matter of time before "something" slips through the cracks.... For me, the only thing I want to eat with bruises on it is bananas....

  38. Jean Cilione says:

    I am sickened by the mistreatment of the cattle in the video. I pretty much stopped eating meat about a year ago, actually, after the poor lamb escaped the slughterhouse in NYC. After seeing the video with the abuse of the cows, I just can't eat meat at all. Actually, if more people stopped eating meat, less animals would be subjected to abuse and slughter, because there would not be a need for the meat. I buy free range, cage free chickens and eggs, and wild caught fish to eat. I eat veggies and fruit, as much organic as I can. Please everyone, the more outrage the better.

  39. sharon stallard says:

    I read all the comments and noticed that only 1 other noticed that the cows were dairy cows..My question is..what are the names of the people who run these 2 companies..I bet they are associated with the dairy industry..and most dairies are owned by dutchmen..forget about the 3 guys who were fired..lets get fired up about the owners of the 2 companies and the names of the dairies who supply them with their cows..I bet there are only milking cows being killed..records are kept on each cow and how much milk they deliver..once their production goes down I bet they end up in this slaughterhouse..

  40. bea.elliott@verizon.net says:

    To Jean Cilione.... You buy "free range & cage free" - so did I till I discovered that they are not that at all.... Cage free - but they are still housed in huge warehouses (25,000 birds per) - chicks still have their beaks cut off - In the egg industry billions of male chicks are still being crushed (live) to make feed.... Free range? the last 2 months are called 'finishing' - these animals are feed corn (to fatten them up) - they are also crammed into warehouses & pumped full of antibiotics & growth hormones - then crammed into trailers to go to slaughter.... The whole MEat industry is sickening - See more at http://www.youtube.com on factory farms & dairy cows.... For heart & health - Go Vegan.

  41. m bunce says:

    Actually 5 comments indicate their awareness of these cows being dairy cows. Yes, the there should be a domino effect of where these cows trickled in from - BUT - the transport alone of these animals is in and of itself a huge animal cruelty issue. They endure extremely long hours crammed into tractor trailers in extreme heat and cold and rarely fed or watered which is why many of them end up at death's doorstep (the slaughterhouse) in the condition they are in. There is a whole other side to abuse and where these stories where these animals came from. Who would lead a slaughter-bound animal to water? This issue needs to be corrected from the very start of the animals long road of misery.

  42. bea.elliott@verizon.net says:

    The blatant ommission of any animal concerns are seen in the "Humane Animal Slaughter Act" - TITLE 9--ANIMALS AND ANIMAL PRODUCTS

    CHAPTER III--FOOD SAFETY AND INSPECTION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF
    AGRICULTURE

    PART 309_ANTE-MORTEM INSPECTION--Table of Contents

    Sec. 309.10 Onset of parturition.

    Any livestock showing signs of the onset of parturition shall be
    withheld from slaughter until after parturition and passage of the
    placenta. Slaughter or other disposition may then be permitted if the
    animal is otherwise acceptable.

    and also the "Twenty Eight Hour Law" = seems these beasts cannot do without food or water for more than 28 hours during transport. Insane - I know - but it's suppose to make us all "feel good" about MEat
    For health & heart - GO VEGAN

  43. earl west says:

    it,s so unconsionable what these poor beings are subjected to-and it ,s im sure pervasive with variations. i am not eating factory a'farmed" meat any longer and thank you for your humane and wonderfully concerned efforts at making available this way of expressiong our absolute outrage regarding this. sincerely--earl west

  44. Nancy says:

    I am a farmer. I left a very high paid career job to become a farmer. I raise grass fed Highland beef, pasture pork, free range chickens and more. All I want is to produce quality food for my community. Nothing I raise will ever pass through the large commercial system. I did alot of research at variouse stock yard sales before I started my herd and during that time I witnessed many crippled cattle be sold. These are "cutter" cattle and they are loaded on to the big buyers trucks with electric prods and paddles then shipped without food/water or decent space to stand into slaughter houses such as this one. Of course they can not stand when they arrive. Keep in mind that the dairy cattle most seen in the video have spent their years, even in it's end crippled state producing milk and veal (baby cows - whole other issue). The cruelty done to these animals started before they reached slaughter so the investigation needs to go back to the farmer who for a nickle or dime took the animal to the sale and the auction house that even allowed it to be sold into the food chain. I think the HSOP and the USDA needs to do a little visiting to the "stock yard sales". Now, everyone keep in mind that currently big government has plans to make it almost impossible for small farmers selling local to get that quality meat to anyone that wants it. Check out NAIS. It will not do much to the mass producers but....

  45. bea.elliott@verizon.net says:

    To Nancy - firstly, I appreciate that you left a better job to become a good farmer. I am married to a man who was raised on a traditional farm - he and I are sickened at the way things have gone..... especially for the animals. We've both been vegan for years as a result. But the horrors on factory farms & stockyards/packing houses was inevitable. Due to the exploding population, globalization, and of course the greed that big business has to seize and squeeze profits at every turn.

    I've searched all over NAIS, FSIS, USDA, Title 9, etc. hoping to find some "laws" protecting farm animals..... of course, none. I say this was inevitable because when a system starts out using animals as food - anything goes. These animals are just "property" - an means & end to profits. This is the rationale that lead me to become an abolishonist for animals. I respect that they are.... just what they are.... outside of the interests of man.

    Might I also add Nancy, that there is a huge growing community that has the same belief. They are either vegetarian or vegan - They are usually affluent. Most have knowledge of the farm bill and how 85% goes to large MEat & livestock concerns, leaving little to the independent agricultural (vegetable) farmer/grower. So it makes this poisonous (cruel) animal industry rich (while the poor buy/ eat their product) - and those who know better consume the expensive (but healthier) fruits, vegetables & grains. The best illustration I can give of this is noting the complaint I hear from kids all the time: "Yuk! our cafetaria serves nothing but meat..... meat this, meat that - or everything has cheese on it". Yes, I'm amazed too - these kids today are a lot sharper than my generation.

    I think when you add up the cruelties, the health issues, like obesity, diabetes, heart problems - the hormones, antibiotics, BST scares, etc., etc...... (and the cruelties of killing and violence in slaughterhouses) this new wave of rethinking what is and isn't "food' may become a tsunami.

    For health & heart.... GO VEGAN!

  46. m bunce says:

    Nancy
    I have to admit that I was pleased to see your post in that there ARE still farmers who respect their livestock. The uproar over this HSUS video (which, by the way, chose this particular slaughterhouse AT RANDOM) is warranted and no doubt suggests that it goes on daily at most slaughterhouses. To think of all gruesome issues from transport to the by-products of this industry alone, ie: veal calves, etc. is overwhelming. It is unfortunate that there are many people who have no trouble separating man from animal in that the burger-eating, steak carving people in America don't really care where their meat comes from as long as it's medium rare and on the table. It is up to the population of reputable farmers and citizens who do care what goes on in broad daylight, no less, to make changes happen. Get involved in writing to your legislators of your State. They represent YOU and if you don't voice your concerns they will never be a concern. Yes, one person can do much - because many changes are occurring and there are many people working towards the same goals, especially the HSUS.org ~ I keep up on all of their campaigns and they have had huge success in making changes for the welfare of animals. God bless them for "outing" this particular cruelty issue.
    We as American consumers, of any product, meat or otherwise, need to demand, YES, demand that our government change laws governing the mass production of anything. Since the beef industry won't shut down because of this exposure, what we can do is to demand that more USDA inspectors be available at these houses of horrors and that THEY be held responsible when these abuses are exposed. For a free citizen to be able to purchase their meat and animal products from a reputable person such as yourself should not ever be taken away. Perhaps we should add "Freedom of Diet" into the Constitution. Fight for your livelihood.

  47. Nancy says:

    Thanks for the comments. My farm is far far from "traditional" in this century. I am also participating in the preservation of old heritage breeds of cattle and swine. As far as GO VEGAN, absolutely if you can, that means no dairy or dairy bi-products, no eggs, no fish. World health issues go beyond meat and on to the refined and poorly processed ready food as a whole. My parents eat 85% raw 15% cooked (veggies only & lots of carrot juice) in their senior years and this has resulted in no health issues, repair of existing health issues, no doctors and a very active dancing life in their seventies. Bless them. The reality of life is that the world is not going to GO VEGAN any time soon so people should absolutey be exposed to "were does the meat come from; was it well cared for in its growth; how was the animal processed and placed for purchase to the masses? Big and small farming is like any other business, love of it or not and the money.
    I am in it for the love of it and the satisfaction that comes with growing livestock and produce naturally. I have been many things in my life, Wife, mother, soldier, corporate lead, coach, adrenalin junkie and in my end evolution I choose to give back affordable quality food to my community. I am not going to go in at length (yes I am) about NAIS but every American needs to research what is currently being placed in to law slowly and by force State by State. It has caused some small organic farmers to euthanize all of their efforts (livestock) and while being fined daily for non-compliance. I will give you a hint, it involves mandatory farm premise chip to be placed in all farm animals to include horses (yes America is still slaughtering animals that built this great nation). All of this is layered over with silky PR about being able to track were the contaminated animal came from which makes it sound good. Who will chip the Spinach leaves? (Sorry, trying to be funny) What is really going on is that if this system is in place then the world market will open its doors for the 143 million pounds of recalled meat to be sold all over the world without question. The United Nations wants the system. I guess I am going on about this but everyone has their stump to preach from. Big farmer gets a long term premise chip for one buy in price, small farmer gets hit on all of the costs for every animal that he raises and sells, even if it is just to the neighbor. This whole system is being put in place very quietly but one day in the not so far future there will be little real choices of were to buy your food.

  48. Nancy says:

    One more thing, Woo Hoo for the HSUS for the cruelty exposure, gruesome as it is. I am a serious advocate for animal rescue. Currently on my farm I have two horses, eight dogs and seven cats all adopted from Humane Society threads and most are cruelty cases. My one old crippled rescued cow, Yella, passed away this summer while chewing her cud in the pasture. I don't believe in sending old cows that have done their job for humanity out to butcher for a few dollars or house hamburger. I have more respect as a caretaker of these animals. All of my rescued crew have a forever home with me. Just remember, you to can make a difference; you may not be able to adopt a cow or horse but donations or adoptions of other Human Society animals is a quality thing to do.

  49. bea.elliott@verizon.net says:

    I have a house full of adopted rescuee pets myself - though I'm urband they are restricted to the dog/cat variety of friends :)

    The mention of "new & better" laws is fine - but totally ineffective - Take the 28 hour law: Animals in transport are to receive 5 hours of rest/food/water after 28hrs of travel. Well.... truckers dodge check points - And trucks that travel from Canada to the US start "the clock" at the border.

    Nancy - I know your concern about the "chip" Animal Identification and how large firms will pay a one-time "unit" fee.... Sad that these animals are 'units'. And too - not disrespecting your livelyhood (or your efforts to raise healthy cows) but I'm very sad they are considered "food".

    And I can only speak from direct experience with a vegetarian now vegan diet - that I've not felt this physically good for decades..... I feel like a kid again!
    Maybe there is some truth to "eat your veggies"?

  50. Budracer says:

    I only wish I could impale those employees with a forklift, stick an electrode up their ass and a high pressure water hose down their throats. I would volunter and do it with a smile on my face!