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Life Arts    H4'ed 1/28/14

Downer Calf Cruelty

Message Suzana Megles
I have been reading horror stories re the treatment of farm animals in
slaughter houses since at least 1976 when my beautful Peaches led me
on the road to realizing that animals are special too and deserve
compassionate treatment.  It was not long before I first became vegetarian
and shortly thereafter vegan in 1983.  What a legacy from a small part-
miniature collie.  I have never looked back or departed from her
"teachings" of love and compassion for the animal world.   
Conditions for the farm animals even worsened with the introduction of
the Confined Animal Farm Operations (CAFO)s during the 80s while Reagon
was president.  If we can justifiably put the blame squarely on him for
this horror- then sadly his legacy as president should rightly be tarnished
for all time.  However, I wondered if things would have been any different
under any other p resident. So far I haven't met one who in my view is
truly concerned about animals.  
I was happy to read this week from HSUS re the shuttering of a New Jersey
slaughter plant due to their undercover investigation. When they provided
footage and other undercover materials to the US Department of Agriculture,
the USDA shut down the Catelli Bros. slaughter plant in suburban Monmouth
County, New Jersey.
We have all read some of the documentary evidence of farm animal cruelty
from other humane orgs as well, and somehow the cruelty noted is always
unbelievable that anyone could treat these poor animals so horribly. This
is what HSUS wrote about the Catelli Bros. slaughter house in their blog:
"Our undercover investigator documented calves being forced to rise to their
feet by men who wrapped the calves' tails around their hands - lifting the
entire weight of the calf by this appendage.  One calf with a broken leg was
dragged by a chain around his neck and other calves were struck, kicked, pulled
by their ears, and sprayed with water. The plant manager warned workers not
to take some of these actions when the USDA inspector was around-an indirect
admission that he knew that workers were breaking the law on animal handling."
Doesn't reading this make you ashamed to be a member of the human race?  It
does me.  And e verytime I read something like this I can't help but ask the
question- Were these workers Christian?  If so, how could they justify this
cruelty?  The fifth commandment not only says "Thou shalt not kill" but requires
us to be kind - to all living creatures.
I also wonder re their upbringing.  Were they allowed to torture little helpless
creatures with impunity?  Then shame on their equally callous parents.   
In 2009 the HSUS found calves too weak to walk- being kicked, shocked, thrown,
and dragged to slaughter at Bushway.  The HSUS filed a petition with the USDA asking
that the agency close a loophole in the regulation which would allow these downer
calves  be set aside in the hopes that they they could recover enough to walk onto
the killing floor. Greed - that's all it is.  No concern at all for their suffering
which could be alleviated with humane euthanasia.
Earlier, because of the HSUS expose of cruel treatment to adult downer cows, they
are now being humanely euthanized.  This same law should apply to these poor little
calves.  Imagine these cruel owners expected them to voluntarily get up and go to
the killing floor.  The law requiring euthanasia for adult cows should even more
apply to these p oor little calves.
How pitiful it must be to see still-conscious calves trying to right themselves on
the bleed line. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act requires that animals be unconscious
before they are shackled and hung upside down so their throats can be slit.
Nor does ritual slaughter guarantee freedom from suffering.  HSUS investigators
found some calves undergoing "shechita" (ritual slaughter) where the calves remained
conscious for more than two minutes after their necks were opened up.  These surely
were 2 mimutes of hell for these poor little calves.
Four years after the Bushway investigation about downer calf abuse and now the
Catelli Bros investigation shows that, despite a federal law prohibiting cruelty in
slaughter houses which has been in place for more than a half a century, reveals
that basic requirements are ignored by those charged to observe and enforce it.  
HSUS applauded the USDA for shutting down this plant, but how many plants which are 
cruel are still being ignored by them?  Per the HSUS "STRONGER ENFORCEMENT and more
consistent legal standards on downers are what USDA should serve up."
I agree -if they were doing their job more responsibly- these slaughter houses from hell
would cease to exist.  
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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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