Thursday, January 31, 2008

Video of workers abusing cows raises food safety questions - CNN.com

The article says the workers were terminated but I wonder if the real problem of poor oversight is being addressed. The slaughtering process needs to be more transparent. It should be monitored and taped and reviewed regularly by inspectors and when abuses like this are documented , the plant should be shut down until management can prove that the process they have in place is humane.

Video of workers abusing cows raises food safety questions - CNN.com

6 comments:

Tags said...

Considering how much money the meat merchants save by using technology to replace workers, you'd think they'd have some money in the kitty for oversight.

It's time to reconsider the "voluntary" self-policing nature of food regulations.

Hannah said...

I agree, but based on the USDA's history, it would rather not get involved more than is 'necessary' and save money for the plant, than get involved to make sure these situations won't get repeated.

Jennie/Tikka said...

This place is in Chino, which is not terribly far from where I live. This puts things right in my backyard.

Trent Hendricks said...

I spent several years driving & dispatching tractor trailers hauling cattle, sheep & hogs all over the USA and Canada; I also worked in a large cattle slaughter house for a year scheduling and overseeing deliveries. While the video is unpleasant to view, sometimes life doesn't always work out the way it's planned. Sometimes the options available and the policies in place make doing the right thing all but impossible. Accidents do happen and cows do go down. Sometimes they can get up, but don't want to. A little tickle of electric can change their mind. Current regulations stipulate that cows cannot be dragged or lifted until they are killed, and if they are not killed in a proper manner then their carcass goes to waste. Everybody loses, just the cow loses more. If the cow goes down on the truck, the driver of the truck may have to pay for the entire cow, which means he just worked for free. They have no interest in abusing any cattle if for no other reason then that their wages depend on the cattle arriving in good condition. Slaughter houses need the cattle to walk off the truck and into the kill floor to make money on them.

Let’s stop demonizing the visible problem and look further upstream. Other than the accident scenario, why was the cow allowed to deteriorate to the condition it was shipped in? Because of a cheap food policy and the desire to get a few more cwt of milk out of the poor beast so that the high price of cattle, land, feed and operating money can be recouped? Greed? Whose greed, the farmers, or the people who clamor for a cheap food policy and the politicians who placate them? Until we as consumers demand and pay for high quality food and support/vote with our money & time, local sustainable agriculture, cheap foods must be produced as economically as possible. This includes feed yards, mega dairies, slaughterhouses that process 10,000 head of cattle or hogs daily, and terminals and trucks to disperse the products nationwide.

When we look for the culprit, maybe we should look in the mirror. Or maybe not. I expect the readers of this blog are more virtuous then the average consumer, but we can all do better. My farm is certified humane, all natural, sustainable and meets all regulations that we know of. We sell directly to the consumer and feed 100’s of families. It can be done. Only we can fix the problems we allowed to exist. Bemoaning the industry and its inherent problems, while perpetuating the trends that fathered the industry, is like a dog returning to its vomit.

Since the problems were not created overnight, I suspect the solution will take time also. Still, change begins with us.

Ok, I'll step away from the pulpit now.

JunkyPOS said...

Wow!... Trent..I admire your straight forwardness and candor. There are 2 sides of the fence as always.

It is very much appreciated and your perspective adds much to this.

Paul Schatz said...

The workers were terminated?
So the people least able to afford losing their job lost their job but the bosses, who, I sincerely believe, knew what was going on get to keep theirs. Cow manure truly flows downhill.