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Are you supposed to waterboard cows?

There is a lot of buzz on the 'net today about the video that the Humane Society took inside Hallmark Meat Packing, where workers are shown abusing downer cows as a means of getting their sick carcasses to the slaughter line. The video is sad, disgusting, and when you consider that this company is a major supplier for school lunches, downright scary. (link: Video of animal abuse at Hallmark Meat packing - be warned it is graphic)

Downer cows are excluded from the food supply for a very good reason: they just might have Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) commonly known as, mad cow disease. There's also that pesky problem of contamination (e. coli, salmonella) from rolling around in the feces and other muck while they are being poked and prodded (by a forklift and high-powered water hoses in their noses, in this case) to slaughter. Makes it a bit clearer why we keep seeing e. coli in the burger, now doesn't it?

As Rick Weiss discusses in his Washington Post article Video Reveals Violations of Laws, Abuse of Cows at Slaughterhouse these were not just any employees either. The pen manager and his assistant are shown on the video. Given my amusement at corporate stupidity, it's probably little surprise that I found this bit of the operations manager's interview noteworthy: 

In an interview, Mendell expressed disbelief that employees used stun guns to get sick or injured animals on their feet for inspection.

"That's impossible," he said, adding that "electrical prods are not allowed on the property."

Asked whether his employees use fork lifts to get moribund animals off the ground, he said: "I can't imagine that."

Asked whether water was sprayed up animals' noses to get them to stand up, he said: "That's absolutely not true."

"We have a massive humane treatment program here that we follow to the n{+t}{+h} degree, so this doesn't even sound possible," Mendell said. "I don't stand out there all day, but to me it would be next to impossible."

Impossible, hmmm? I do not think that word means what you think it means.

The Humane Society offers a quick way to send a message to the Secretary of Agriculture here: Take Action: Feeding dangerous cruelty to our kids in school lunches.

I checked on PETA for their response. Figured that after my last missive to them - Dear PETA, women are animals too... - I'd give them another chance. Oh look, there's another video with a woman stripping and nary a word about this.

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