View Mobile Site

Compassionate slaughtering? Give me a break

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED August 25, 2012 1:28 a.m.

Central Valley Meat Co. on Hanford has been shut down - at least temporarily - putting 500 employees out of work.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) forced the closure after the widespread distribution of an undercover video shot by Compassion over Killing. Putting aside the obvious point that no one has yet made that an animal lover stood by videotaping while animals were being abused, there are other culprits here that aren’t being punished.

At least the person shooting the video could say they were not stepping up to stop what is a straightforward illegal act of animal abuse under the law because they were trying to videotape the evidence that would go for the greater good.

That said what about the USDA itself? They place inspectors at such operations. How could they have missed what we are all led to believe is an everyday occurrence at a large slaughterhouse being scrutinized daily by the USDA?

It’s another example of your tax dollars not at work.

There is no evidence that the top concern of the USDA - insuring food safety - was compromised. Of course, you can’t tell that from the reaction including from organizations such as In-n-Out Burger dropping their ties with the company while making statements about their compassion for animals. What compassion is there, pray tell, in even the so-called humane killing of an animal for food?

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have not eaten meat of any type - and that includes fish or fowl - for 26 years. However, I do not have a problem with people eating meat. What I do have an issue with are people on their high horse about compassionate killing. Explain to me what is compassionate about hitting a cow in the skull with a single shot from a pneumatic gun to knock it out and render it unconscious so you can slit its throat? It is what it is.

And it is certainly better than some of the older ways of slaughtering cattle including slamming them with a mallet to the head repeatedly or shooting them with a shotgun.

We are all so far removed from how food is produced that we have lost touch with reality. You have to kill an animal to get meat. Killing an animal for slaughter isn’t exactly the same as a robotic assembly line making widgets. Things go wrong since it involves a live animal and a human being.

How you can ever justify killing for the purpose of slaughter by calling the method compassionate is beyond me. It is one of those things that has to be done. We all should stop feigning rage when something goes wrong in the process.

A struggling cow after being stunned still has to be rendered unconscious. While what is depicted in the video is disturbing, what do people want done? Maybe the cow could be taken out of the slaughter line, nursed back to health, and then shot again in the head. How is that compassion?

Animals should not be abused but let’s get one thing straight: slaughtering is just that - slaughtering.

And, yes, sick animals should not be slaughtered. The USDA edict has more to do with food safety than compassion.

Congressman Jeff Denham and colleagues Kevin McCarthy and Devin Nunes have asked the USDA to show some compassion and allow the plant to reopen now so 500 employees with families can go back to work.

The USDA insists it must complete the charade they call an investigation. It is a charade because the USDA inspectors obviously have never seen one iota of evidence of abuse in all the years they’ve been on site at the Hanford slaughterhouse. And if they have, they never did anything about it.

Perhaps when the USDA is finished with their “investigation” that is forcing 500 families to suffer in one of the highest unemployment locations in the country, the regulatory agency might want to “suspend” its inspectors without pay while Congress conducts an investigation of the apparent incompetence of the USDA.


This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at or 209-249-3519

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...