In the last few days, there has been a massive beef recall of 143 million pounds nationwide by the California Westland/Hallmark Company. This recall is the largest in US history, four times the amount from 1999 at 35 million pounds. It was sparked by secret footage taken by the Humane Society of the United States of workers abusing cows that were to be slaughtered. This in essence led to the question of the safety of the meat since sick cows unable to walk are not supposed to be used for food supply.
I watched the video footage when it first aired on one of the news stations on tv and was just appalled. Besides the health safety issue which the USDA minimizes to a small percentage, it raises a lot of questions about the beef industry in general. Although we can't make the generalization that this happens in most plants (that's really not the case), it's just the fact that it happens. Temple Grandin, professor and author of Animals in Translation has tried very hard to design these plants and instill policies to treat cattle humanely. Overall, there has been success with her protocols, but it still has a long way to go unfortunately. Click here to see her outline of humane design and slaughter of cattle. With so many plants nationwide, one plant may be excellent in the human treating of their animals, while others not at all. It's quite sad when you think about it. I'm not a beef or poultry eater, but I do think that animals deserve the respect even in their final days. Beyond that, it's for the general safety of everyone. I hope this will be a wake up call to the industry or to at least lead to some more investigations of these practices.