Friday, June 18, 2010
Ex-Slaughterhouse Worker Arraigned on Animal Cruelty Charges
This wasn't the first time the slaughterhouse had been accused of egregious animal abuse - a Food Safety inspector had tried to get the plant shut down before and was essentially fired for doing so. It took an undercover animal rights investigation for anything to change...sorta. The slaughterhouse re-opened recently but under a new name, even amidst an ongoing investigation.
Now, two employees are being charged with animal cruelty. One has been arraigned on two misdemeanor charges and, amazingly, one felony charge. He faces up to five years in prison and a piddly $9,000 fine. The second man is the co-owner who fled from the law and has a warrant out on him.
Anyone who saw the video would agree the animals were treated cruelly.
But what isn't talked about much is why these days-old calves are there in the first place. The veal industry exists because of the dairy industry. Bob veal is one incarnation in which extremely young, days-old calves are taken from their moms without nursing and transported many miles to slaughterhouses. Their pale, young flesh is then sold.
While I'm glad these ex-employees are being charged with animal cruelty, I feel it misses the point. They work in an industry that kills baby animals for a living, that requires maternal deprivation, and that steals breast milk meant for a calf and gives it to human beings. That seems pretty cruel to me.
Killing baby animals is not easy work. Calves are cute, gentle, sweet animals. They often look to nurse off of their killers. I imagine the only way to cope with the mass killing of calves would be to desensitize oneself. Unfortunately the side effects of this cognitive dissonance is exemplified in every single undercover investigation of animal production facilities - people do horrible things to animals once they stop seeing them as sentient, feeling beings.