Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sick Cattle Used to Feed School Children

Hidden-Camera Investigation Finds Slaughterhouse Used Banned 'Downed Animals'

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2008—

A hidden-camera investigation by an animal rights group has uncovered disturbing treatment of ailing cows at a California slaughterhouse that provides meat for school lunches.

The video, obtained during what the Humane Society of the United States [HSUS] said was a six-week undercover investigation, shows a sickly cow being dragged by a chain before being poked, prodded, rolled and lifted with a forklift. Workers also are seen hosing the faces of cows in a manner that HSUS described as "torture right out of a waterboarding manual."

An HSUS official said its investigator confirmed that at least some of the animals in the video were "spent dairy cows," allegedly sold for meat after they had grown too old and sick to produce milk, and that they were slaughtered for use in the human food supply.

HSUS says Westland Meat Company, which owns the slaughterhouse in Chino, Calif., is the No. 2 supplier of beef to a USDA program that "distributes the beef to needy families, the elderly and also to schools through the National School Lunch Program."

According to documents provided by HSUS, Westland was named a USDA "supplier of the year" for 2004-05. HSUS says the company "has delivered beef to schools in 36 states. More than 100,000 schools and childcare facilities nationwide receive meat through the lunch program."

Such treatment of cows is generally considered abuse and is prohibited. But slaughtering such sick cattle -- known as "downers" -- also is banned to protect humans from contracting mad cow disease. The USDA considers its enforcement of the ban aggressive; HSUS says it's actually riddled with holes.

"Downed animals may be falling through the cracks as a result of poor oversight, anemic enforcement, and a loophole created by inconsistent agency regulations," the group says.

Both the USDA and the meat packer responded quickly to the allegations.
The president of Westland and of Hallmark Meat Packing Co., where the video was recorded, said today two employees were fired and a supervisor was suspended "pending his explanation."

"We are shocked, saddened and sickened by what we have seen today," Westland's president Steve Mendell said in a prepared statement posted on the company's Web site. "Operations have been immediately suspended until we can meet with all of our employees and be assured these sorts of activities never again happen at our facility."

Mendell's plant is now under investigation by the USDA. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer has asked the USDA's Inspector General to look into violations at the facility but he assured the public that the episode was not reason for public alarm.

In the interim, Schafer said he has "indefinitely suspended" Westland Meat Company from supplying meat to federal food programs and all food from Westmoreland that is already in the pipeline has been placed "on administrative hold."

In a prepared statement released late today, Schafer said he is "deeply concerned" about the allegations. But he is also disappointed in the Humane Society.

"It is unfortunate that the Humane Society of the United States did not present this information to us when these alleged violations occurred in the fall of 2007," Schafer said. "Had we known at the time the alleged violations occurred, we would have initiated our investigation sooner, and taken appropriate actions at that time."

Westland and the USDA also may be forced to answer questions on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, one of Congress' most vocal critics of the nation's food safety system, emailed reporters today with a threat to hold a hearing that looks into "USDA policies" that "are allowing slaughtering and processing plants to use the National School Lunch Program as a dumping ground for bad meat."


Gerald said...

I wrote this post for AR but the blog is not taking comments at this time so I posted my comment with DWF.

This article reminded me of several articles that I read on our tainted food coming into our country for our students lunch programs.

I mentioned this fact to my one Nazi sister-in-law and she disagreed. If any of you have a Nazi relative, you are well aware that they have bricks for a brain and most are brain dead.

I cannot stand to talk to someone who is totally stupid. This Nazi relative listens to Rush Limbaugh religiously. Her brain is filled with filth and garbage.

Hajji said...

I'm thinking they've been doing this for a while...

I remember some of the "Mystery Meat" they used to try and sell us in gradeschool.

I went HOME for lunch even though my Mom worked in the cafeteria!


Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Flying. H. Spaghetti. Monster.

"Christian nation" my ass. The true god of this country is and always has been Mammon.

Anonymous said...

Their info is:

Westland Meat Company
13677 Yorba Ave.
Chino, CA 91710

Email is:

Their website is:
The Home button is an apology letter.

Gerald said...

I remember listening to public radio and there was a discussion of imported vegetables from Mexico to our school lunchroom programs. The workers in the field would piss and shit on the ground and on the vegetables because they were not going to walk a quarter of a mile or a half a mile to an outhouse to do their business and where there is water to wash the hands. These workers were paid by production and not safety standards of what they picked up that day. People can doubt this fact but let's face it. If you are paid by production, why would walk and take time away from production to piss or shit at an outhouse?