the beef on beef! Read Before you eat again

the beef on beef! Read Before you eat again

Cattle raised for beef are subjected to numerous painful procedures during their lives. These include the repeated infliction of third degree burns (branding), having their testicles ripped out (castration), and the removal of their horns. To minimize costs, all of these practices are routinely conducted without any painkillers.[1]

The majority of cattle spend their lives on overcrowded feedlots, “standing ankle deep in their own waste eating a diet that makes them sick”, as Michael Pollen writes in the New York Times.

Typical cattle feed includes corn which the animals cannot properly digest, and “fillers” such as sawdust or chicken manure. This unnatural diet can lead to an array of health problems, such as bloat, acidosis (bovine heart burn), diarrhea, ulcers, liver disease, and general weakening of the immune system.[2]

During transport to feedlots, auctions, and slaughterhouses, cattle also endure extreme cruelty. Food is not given to the animals during transport or the day before since it will not be converted into profitable flesh. Some cattle succumb to pneumonia, dehydration, or heat exhaustion, and may even freeze to the sides of transport vehicles during long trips.

Dr. Lester Friedlander, a former USDA veterinarian, put it this way: “In the summertime, when it’s 90, 95 degrees, they’re transporting cattle from 12 to 15 hundred miles away on a trailer, 40 to 45 head crammed in there, and some collapse from heat exhaustion. This past winter, we had minus-50-degree weather with the wind chill. Can you imagine if you were in the back of a trailer that’s open and the wind-chill factor is minus 50 degrees, and that trailer is going 50 to 60 miles an hour?” [3]

Those who make it to the slaughterhouse alive are often electrically prodded off the truck.

Federal law requires that cattle be stunned (rendered insensible to pain) prior to slaughter. Most cattle are shot in the head with a “pistol” that thrusts a metal rod through the skull and into the brain. However, the law is rarely enforced and routinely violated since shooting a struggling animal is difficult and production lines move at an alarming pace.[4] As a result, some animals go through the slaughter process kicking and screaming as they are skinned and dismembered while fully conscious.

An April 10, 2001 Washington Post expose revealed: “It takes 25 minutes to turn a live steer into steak at the modern slaughterhouse where Ramon Moreno works… The cattle were supposed to be dead before they got to Moreno. But too often they weren’t. ‘They blink. They make noises,’ he said softly. ‘The head moves, the eyes are wide and looking around.’ Still Moreno would cut. On bad days, he says, dozens of animals reached his station clearly alive and conscious. Some would survive as far as the tail cutter, the belly ripper, and the hide puller. ‘They die,’ said Moreno, ‘piece by piece.'”

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