Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Vermont Wants Calves To Suffer

That's all I can get from Vermont's attempt to stall and water down a bill that would have required repeat offenders to be shut down permanently. Now they just want the livestock panel to be in charge of what happens to farmed animals heading to slaughter. Fox. Guarding. Hen House.

The legislation is in response to an HSUS investigation of Bushway Packing Plant.

This is a slaughterhouse specializing in male dairy calves. The calves are less than a week old. In industry terms, they are "bob veal". Cute.

The video showed workers skinning fully conscious calves, stunning calves improperly (en masse), and slitting throats while the animals were still conscious.

Get this: Government inspectors - those responsible for enforcing food safety and minimal humane handling laws - saw all this and did nothing. They did not report the egregious violations of the law. In fact, when the undercover investigator commented about some of the mishandling, the government inspector is shown telling the investigator that he can't say stuff like that, it might get the plant shut down.

What a system we have in place - it virtually guarantees animal cruelty and poor food quality control.

And Vermont doesn't want to take a stand against animal agriculture. What a shame.

Before you go thinking this is just the result of sensational reporting on HSUS part (which is silly, at best), this is the same company that a Food Safety Inspector (a veterinarian) tried to get shut down previously. No one listened. It's not an aberration, not at all. Even the FSIS veterinarian whistleblower acknowledges that.

The slaughterhouse is back in operation. Even with multiple handling violations. Even with multiple food safety violations. No one thought to themselves - hey, this might be the kind of plant that needs to go. Instead, the company now operates under a different name.

For the calves, it's business as usual.

I'll just end w/ what I wrote in the last post:

You may not like undercover investigations. Or, perhaps, you just don't like the groups doing them. But when our entire system is set up to oppress internal whistleblowers and reward inspectors who ignore violations, then something needs to change. If undercover videos shed light on how animals are handled before their final breath, well, I happen to think they should be mandatory viewing for anyone who eats those animals. And if those videos show violations of the law, then the laws need to be enforced better (I mean, come on, this isn't a complex law) and actions need to be taken.


Houndward Bound said...

This is appalling. It disgusts me that you can find health violations and numerous numerous animal cruelty violations in slaughter houses all over North America yet people still like to push the idea it is an isolated incident. 'I feel an entire industry is being punished for one group of people'. It's just not true. Anyone who allows themselves to believe this is only trying soothe their own guilt. It's easier to remain naieve than accept that what you consume directly contributes to extreme animal cruelty. It's corruption at it's best. I am not surprised by the government's reaction but it is just so so disheartening. It's hard to keep faith we can change the system when so many in power have dollar signs in their eyes and the offenders are profiting from it.

RooseveltHouchi嬌琪 said...
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sp said...

making videos mandatory viewing for people who eat the animals sounds a little too clockwork orange. then again, everyone should be educated about all food production, and if we could get inspectors to enforce laws, the videos of slaughter houses may not be so horror-show. at least for some people...

the fact that HSUS undercover agent types shoot this video seems quite defensible, i don't know exactly on what grounds people would object to that? it should be freaking mandatory, not looked at as covert, sneaky, invasive. and i agree that the really shocking thing is that even evidence still doesn't effect change. wteff?

Amber Avines said...

Thanks so much for this very important post. One of the many reasons why I'm vegetarian and put so much advocacy related info on my own animal blog.

Keep up the great work!