School dinners were, in my day, disgusting. It seems little has changed. The Washington Post carries a chilling story of ‘downer cattle’ being passed as healthy, in an abattoir that provides beef for school dinners. It was captured on video by a member of the American Humane Society, who’d infiltrated the slaughterhouse in Chino, California. Be warned, the video is nasty – I couldn’t bear to watch it all.
But it is nonetheless important to post. Readers of Stuffed and Starved will be familiar with the story already. In the book, I quote the words of Dave Louthan, a slaughterhouse employee who blew the whistle on the practice of introducing cows suspected of having BSE (Mad Cow Disease) into the food chain.
The cows are ‘downers’ if they’re too sick to stand. And this video shows how cows are persuaded to stand despite being sick, using fork-lifts and high-pressure hoses.
It’s one thing to read Louthan’s testimony. It’s quite another to see the full horror of it all. And it does rather seem to be policy, rather than aberration.
If I didn’t already not eat beef, I’d certainly quit. Especially if I were still in school.