Saturday, February 23, 2008

Meat processing scandal (minus the nightmare-inducing videos)

If like me you've been hearing about the animal abuses secretly filmed by a Humane Society employee at the Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. which resulted in the largest beef recall in US history but (also like me) don't have the stomach to actually watch the videos, this article from Salon which reports the story unemotionally and without requiring you to view photos may be helpful. (There is a link to the videos, but it's clearly labelled and you can simply not click on it.)

From the article:

Since the scandal broke, industry groups, such as the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, have sought to assure the public the problems were an isolated incident. "This recall is happening out of an abundance of caution because the company did not follow regulations for handling non-ambulatory cattle," James O. Reagan, chairman of the Beef Industry Food Safety Council, said in a statement. "We support USDA's recall as a precautionary measure. At the same time, we can say with confidence that the beef supply is safe."

But Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society, has his doubts. The Humane Society, he attests, had not been tipped off to abuses at the plant. "This plant was selected at random," he says. "There are 6,200 facilities across the country that USDA inspects. We chose this one and found egregious abuses. There is no way that these groups can say that everything is safe."

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