The Humane Society released a rather shocking video that was filmed at Hallmark Meat Packing in Chino, CA. The video shows downed cattle being lifted with a forklift and prodded in order to get them on their feet to pass USDA inspection. (Warning, the footage is graphic in showing the abuse of the animals). It’s difficult to link to this, but it is important information that parents of school-aged children need to know about.
Perhaps most shocking of all is that this company had been a leading supplier of beef for the National School Lunch program, meaning that the meat from potentially diseased animals, animals too sick to stand, was processed and sold to schools, 100 million pounds of beef since 2002 in fact.
“Downed” is a term for an animal that is too sick or weak to be able to stand by itself. These animals are potentially diseased and, by USDA mandate, supposed to be removed from the other livestock for food consumption and humanely euthanized.
“Downed” is one of the original “four d’s” of the meat packing industry that was exposed by Upton Sinclair when he wrote The Jungle. The other “d’s” are dead, decaying, and diseased. That landmark book was published over 100 years ago and led to the passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, laws that led to the formation of what we know as the FDA now.
Ironically, Hallmark Meat Packing was subject to meat inspections twice daily. The inspector, who arrived at the same time each day, never reported any violations. The USDA has placed the company under investigation and has suspended all of its current contracts.
[This post was written by Beth Bader.]
Sounds like the USDA are the ones who need the investigation, eh?
Jennifer Lance says
I watched it all, and thank you Beth for sharing this. Families need to know. Thank goodness my daughter has chosen to be a vegetarian and always takes a home lunch. I can’t even stand to drive by Harris Ranch on I-5 in California, because of the smell of slaughter. These poor animals. I can’t believe humans can act this way. I don’t judge others that eat meat, but I think we all need to eat responsibly to avoid abusive practices.
Expat Chef says
True, Sharon. After a record number of e. coli-tainted meat recalls in 2007, the USDA’s only action was to determine that a study needed to be done. No sanctions, no action. A study.
We buy our meats straight from the farmers, all grassfed, animals that have lived well and eaten a natural diet and were treated humanely. I am trying to get a menu from our school so I can pick days to pack lunches. They are not cooperative.