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Animal Awareness : Graphic video shows abuse of sick cows
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From: MSN NicknameSmigChick  (Original Message)Sent: 2/2/2008 2:26 AM
This has been playing here on the local news all week, and now it appears it's getting national attention. To be honest, I would turn my head and even change the channel whenever they were about to show this video that Human Society 'secret agents' filmed as part of an investigation, so I have not watched the video and never plan to.
However it's important to note that these sorts of things continue to occur, not just for the sake of the poor animals, but also because it's likely they were slaughtering downed cattle. That's unhealthy beef.
Anyway...ugh, I hate stuff like this.  
From Jan. 30/updated Jan. 31:
Graphic video shows possible abuse of sick cows

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Agriculture Department said Wednesday it would investigate whether sick dairy cows were mistreated at a California slaughterhouse in violation of state and federal laws designed to ensure food safety and prevent animal cruelty.

Newly installed Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said the department was taking the allegations seriously after video footage showed workers at the Hallmark Meat Packing Co. repeatedly kicking cows and ramming them with the blades of a forklift as the animals squealed in pain.

Schafer said "appropriate actions will be taken" if violations are found in the facility but he said there was no evidence that the nation's beef supply was at risk.

"There is no immediate health risk that we are aware of," he said.

Hallmark, based in Chino, Calif., supplies the Westland Meat Co., which processes the carcasses. The facility is a major supplier to a USDA program that distributes beef to needy families, the elderly and to schools through the National School Lunch Program. Westland was named a USDA "supplier of the year" for 2004-2005 and has delivered beef to schools in 36 states.

The video, released Wednesday by The Humane Society of the United States after a six-week undercover investigation, also showed plant workers jabbing in the eyes and applying electrical shocks to the "downed" dairy cows - those who are too sick or injured to walk - in an effort to force them into the federally inspected slaughterhouse. (the rest of the article and a clip of the actual video)

And another related article from today:

Alarm Over Hallmark/Westland Beef Products Grows Nationally<o:p></o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

The fallout from the cattle-abuse video posted by the Humane Society of the <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">United States</st1:place></st1:country-region> continues to spread.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, sent a pointed letter to newly confirmed Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer on Thursday, asking for an accounting of USDA oversight of the Hallmark Meat Packing plant in Chino, Calif., where the abuse allegedly occurred, and Westland Meat Co., also in Chino, which is supplied by Hallmark.

"This issue is of great concern to me ?not only because of the violations of laws and regulations, but also because USDA records indicate that my constituents and others have been consuming beef products processed by <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Westland</st1:place></st1:City>," Sen. Harkin said in the letter.

The video allegedly depicts downed cattle being forced to their feet in order to pass inspection and be processed. (See Feds suspend Calif. meatpacker pending probe of animal abuse on, Jan. 31, 2008.)

Sen. Harkin urged Schafer to report back to him regarding how the USDA had supervised operations at the plant; what the agency plans to do to get Westland's products out of the food supply if, in fact, downed cattle were slaughtered and processed; and what steps the USDA plans to take going forward to protect the food supply from beef from downed cattle.

Meanwhile, although USDA has indefinitely suspended Westland as a supplier to federal food and nutrition programs ?Westland was the second-biggest supplier of beef to the National School Lunch Program ?several individual school systems around the country, and at least one restaurant chain, In-N-Out, announced they had removed beef previously supplied by Westland from the menu.




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