The Washington Post runs a story in today's online site exposing unlawful animal abuse at a slaughterhouse/meat packing company in California, and includes video, that is also available for view, from a six-week undercover investigative operation by The Humane Society of the United States.
The article Video Reveals Violations of Laws, Abuse of Cows at Slaughterhouse, by staff writer Rick Weiss, details routine illegal and abusive business practices by senior management staff at Chino, California, slaughterhouse Hallmark Meat Packing. Hallmark is the second largest supplier of beef to the National School Lunch Program, which also feed the needy and the elderly. [The company's Operations Manager is also President of Westland Meat Company, which is a buyer/distributor of meats from Hallmark.]
The abuses were carried out immediately prior to daily USDA inspections, and were done in attempts to force sick and injured cattle to stand up - as required by law for inspection and approval for slaughter.
The USDA will not approve for slaughter 'downed' cows, as it's indicative of the severe health problems of the cow, and the increased possibilities that the cow's meat will infect our food supplies with dangerous E. coli and salmonella bacteria, as well as a life-threatening brain encephalopathy.
The illegal acts that Hallmark Meat Packing inflicted as documented on video; I watched the video and this is what I saw:
- electric shocks to otherwise immobile cattle's rectums, heads, necks, and spines
- pushing/raising cows with forklift prongs
- rolling cows with the forklift's wheels
- slamming cows into the killbox with forklifts
- cows being kicked in the head, and hit in the head with the ends of poles
- high intensity sprays shot up cows' nostrils ("veterinary water-boarding")
- cows dragged across the ground by their necks and legs by chains attached to vehicles
detroit dog's thoughts: Hallmark's routine and unlawful abusive actions sadly are likely not the industry exception. Thanks to their lack of concern for human health on a national scale, these activities are doubly despicable for their abuse towards animals and people. Businesses that participate in such abusive activities should not be fined - they should be shut down. In the U.S. alone, literally billions of animals are bred and slaughtered each year for food; think of the abuse to animals and - in the long run - to people. (To read a New York Times article about how this affects global warming, read the New York Times article Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler.)
detroit dog's advice for 'humane' eating:
- Buy organic foods (meats and poultries included)
- Buy cage-free and range-free animal food products (not great, but it's a start)
- Purchase products that do not participate in animal testing
- Become a vegetarian or - better yet - a vegan
- Do not eat foods from animals which are treated inhumanely on an industry-wide basis (such as goose and duck pate; even famous chef Wolfgang Puck refuses to cook it and serve it!)
For a short piece about USDA follow-up on this particular case, read The New York Times article USDA to Review California Slaughterhouse.
Post update 2/1/2008:
Here's a link to a story about the video at the CNN web site. It appears that some politicians have become involved in the case, but only regarding the possible health dangers to the public. The following are the final two paragraphs from the CNN story:
The USDA, in its news release, said it was "unfortunate" the Humane Society "did not present this information to use when these alleged violations occurred in the fall of 2007."The Humane Society, in its statement, said it had turned the information over to "California law enforcement officials" at that time, and "local authorities asked for extra time before public release of the information."
Post update 2/1/2008; info courtesy 'Anonymous' comment:
Westland Meat Company
13677 Yorba Ave.
Chino, CA 91710
Email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Their website is:
The Home button is an apology letter.
Check out the lone award plaque of "Supplier of the year 2004-2005"