A couple of weeks ago, we told you about a California slaughterhouse that was shut down after a disturbing undercover video showed cows there being tortured and abused. The USDA has since cleared them to resume all operations, even though their “new” standards will not likely result in any changes to the treatment of these animals or the possible safety of the meat that ends up on your plate.
The video was shot by the animal welfare group, Compassion Over Killing and documented workers from Central Valley Meat Co. in horrific acts of animal cruelty, including animals bleeding and flailing after being repeatedly shot in the head with a pneumatic gun, workers abusing cows as they struggle to walk, cattle lying in pens unable to move, a downed cow trembling and unable to stand as workers try to pull her up by the tail, and a cow who is still conscious and thrashing as a conveyor lifts it by one leg to transport him to an area where his throat will be slit.
It was shocking to watch, and even more shocking to think of these poor animals being treated like this. There were also safety concerns about using cows that were obviously sick. Under federal laws, sick cows cannot be slaughtered or used for human consumption. The USDA responded to all of this by halting operations, but has since allowed them to reopen–with little reassurance that anything will change.
Central Valley Meat Co. filed an “extensive corrective action plan” promising that they will “establish a new industry standard for the handling of animals” which include using electric prods “sparingly” to shock the cows into standing and walking, requiring employee training in humane animal treatment, and prohibiting them from using downers (sick cows) for slaughter.
In a statement, Central Valley Meat Co. said that the week of being closed had put a strain on local citizens and their employment and they were now happy to be back to work.
We look forward to getting back to work and continuing to help feed America.
Yeah, at the expense of torturing these animals with all kinds of cruelty that no living being should ever have to endure.
What’s troubling about all of this is the fact that the USDA should have been monitoring this slaughterhouse all along. Instead, we have to rely on undercover video being shot from animal rights groups to expose operations like this. And who is going to continue monitoring them now that they have supposedly adopted “new industry standards?”
Erica Meier, executive director of Compassion Over Killing who shot the video reminds us:
We shouldn’t forget that many of the so-called corrective measures are steps that slaughter plants should already be taking in order to ensure compliance with federal law.
Meier also said that this should send a message to the meat industry about “taking animal cruelty seriously.”
Agreed. It’s worth all of us thinking about our relationships with animals and the lives that they sometimes endure. And not assuming that they all live happily on a farm, eating grass in the sunshine. Because they don’t.