The Canadian meat industry did NOT have a good week! Two disturbing meat stories grabbed headlines, reminding the public that animal cruelty, contamination, and false labelling run rampant in animal slaughter and processing.
A Vancouver Sun article exposed B.C. slaughterhouse inspection records obtained under freedom of information laws. Inspectors documented botched animal slaughter, rotting flesh on live animals, insects, and filthy, unsanitary conditions. Many slaughterhouses were contaminated due to improper cleaning, inadequate disinfection, rodent dropping, and insects.
One inspector reported that workers shocked pigs mercilessly with electric cattle prods while screaming at the animals.
In another case, a frightened cow jumped away from the kill floor and couldn’t regain footing for 6 minutes. After breaking a glass jar, he fell back onto the kill floor and was improperly shot, suffering for several minutes before being shot again and bleeding out. Two other cows were terrified by the chaos and broke two boards in their holding pen while frantically trying to escape.
In another report, a cow’s udder was seen detaching from her body, and a vile odour was present, suggesting her flesh was rotting away.
Another inspector documented an overcrowded trailer, which killed 15 birds because of a failure to provide proper airflow.
Fines for slaughterhouse violations are $100,000 for a first conviction and $200,000 per day for a second offence. Despite these extensive animal cruelty and food safety violations, not a single B.C. facility has faced a fine or suspension of operations.
Meanwhile, a University of Guelph study revealed that one in five sausages from grocery stores across Canada contain meat from an animal not disclosed on the label. Of the 27 cow flesh sausages examined, seven actually contained pig meat. One of the 38 pig meat sausages studied contained horse meat. Four out of 20 chicken sausages contained turkey flesh, and one contained cow. Five of the 15 turkey sausages examined were actually made from chickens, with no turkey at all.
And the researchers don’t believe this is simply a case of trace amounts. Instead, the meat-mixing points to either intentional fraud, or major errors in processing.
The meat industry prioritizes profits while misleading consumers, and disregarding animal protection laws and food safety standards. Thanks to the power of media exposés, more and more consumers are aware of the dark side of this industry.
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