2.17.2008

WHERE'S THE BEEF?


I read today that the USDA is recalling 143 million pounds of beef. This will affect products dating back to February 1, 2006. Above, I pasted one of the labels affected by the recall. Do you recognize that label? Me neither and thank goodness. The last thing I wanted to be doing was throwing away all the good Beef Top Sirloin Butt I had stored up in my freezer since '06. According to CNN, other products to watch out for are "6 Gallon Jugs of Beef Bile" and "1 Gallon containers of Beef Blood." Seriously, this recall is kind of scary since the supplier involved in the recall provides meat to the federal school lunch program and some major fast-food chains. If you eat fast food, try to count all the tainted burgers you've probably eaten since 2006.

Something I don't get is that part of the recall is because the Company is being investigated for shocking, kicking, and jabbing weakened cows. How are these actions any different from how cows are eventually slaughtered? Read this quote from Fast Food Nation about how the slaughtering of cows is typically performed:

"The animals keep strolling up, oblivious to what comes next, and he stands over them and shoots. For eight and a half hours, he just shoots. As I stand there, he misses a few times and shoots the same animal twice. As soon as the steer falls, a worker grabs one of its hind legs, shackles it to a chain, and the chain lifts the huge animal into the air. I watch the knocker knock cattle for a couple of minutes. The animals are powerful and imposing one moment and then gone in an instant, suspended from a rail, ready for carving. A steer slips from its chain, falls to the ground, and gets its head caught in one end of a conveyor belt. The production line stops as workers struggle to free the steer, stunned but alive, from the machinery."

I am in no way condoning this bizarre treatment of animals, but when does the treatment stop being considered "inhumane" and become typical operating procedure so that we can eat the cow?

Is it weird that even though I read Fast Food Nation's detailed description of typical slaughterhouse procedures and about all the workers who are killed, I still choose to eat meat? In fact, I crave meat. I am also very aware of all the beef by-products used in most of the soaps and cosmetics that I slap all over my face, yet I continue to do it. It's pretty gross when you think I'm just slapping beef bile all over my body. But, do I care? No! It's because I am a very visual person. If I see the meat wrapped up in plastic all "fresh-looking" and nice, I eat it without thinking once about how it got to my home. Pretty pathetic, huh?

If anything can be learned from this huge beef recall, don't eat federal lunches, fast food, or buy your meat out of the back of some guy's truck from Chino. (My mom actually did buy meat out of the back of some guy's truck once and although he wasn't from Chino, his name might have been that. Either way, after 5 minutes she had buyer's remorse and chased him around the neighborhood to return all the meat to the back of his truck. Talk about a lapse in judgment!)

2 comments:

  1. (Caitlin) That quote from Fast Food Nation just turned me into a vegetarian. Mom didn't chase him around the neighborhood, she called the bank to have the check denied and the guy was at the bank trying to cash it as she was on the phone! They came back to get the meat and we were so afraid of them that we left the meat on the sidewalk for them to pick up!

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  2. As a missionary we were at some members house for dinner talking about an investigator who's an avid deer/bear hunter. The member (who was slicing up pork chops) tells us, "I could never do something that awful. Maybe in a survival situation, but that's just awful to do that." We looked at each other, and were like: Does he know what he's talking about? All while he's slicing up pork chops (he was a big big meat fan, always barbecuing and smoking meat). Awesome.

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