Behind the cow industry are disturbing secrets you are not supposed to know. Supermarket beef has become an industrialized, unnatural product laced with lies beyond the labels. What actually happens to that meat before it reaches grocery store shelves? In this blog I’ll unveil the dirty truth behind the cattle slaughter process everyone needs to hear.
“In the U.S., more than 29 million cows suffer and die in the meat and dairy industries every year.” (PETA) Over 50 years ago, before factory farming was born, cow meat was fresh and free of hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, flavor enhancers, mad cow disease, E. coli, age-delayers and additives. Now, artificial manipulation begins before the cows are even born. They are given hormones to make conception timing more efficient for the factories, not the animals. Calves are dehorned, castrated, branded and tagged. They are given multiple vaccinations and antibiotics (often mixed in their feed) to fend off disease. Pumped with growth steroids and fed with “food” used to bulk them up and bring in more money per pound. Cows’ digestive systems were meant to graze grass but the high-volume industry feeds them a grain (and by-products) diet to keep meat cases stocked no matter the season. The antibiotic-laden grain leads to liver abscesses, acidosis in their rumens, illnesses and death. By-products mixed with their feed can range from stale junk food, gum with wrappers, heat-treated garbage, chicken feathers, urea and worst of all--more cows (the reason behind mad cow disease: feeding meat to an herbivore)! Thankfully, in 2004, the FDA restricted cows from being fed mammalian blood products as it was directly linked with mad cow disease. The calves have it bad, but the older cows face no better conditions. The moms are traumatically separated from their calves and given more drugs to make their milk continue to flow. These days, cows are slaughter-ready at just one or two years old. This quick turnaround benefits only the commercial beef industry. It decreases the meat’s nutritional content and increases the chance of bacteria, while traumatizing the animals throughout the process. Additionally, the rates of pollution and chemicals for consumers rises. None of these hormones, steroids, antibiotics and additives ever make it on the food label because the FDA thinks they’re okay.
Everything about the slaughter process, from start to finish, is completely driven by the factory’s wants with no regard to the animals. If cows even survive the feedlots, they are shipped to the slaughterhouse via unimaginably horrific conditions. They are driven hundreds of miles, crammed into trucks often without food, water or rest, and are subject to extreme weather conditions...all while they defecate next to each other. In the heat, some cows collapse; in the cold, some freeze to the sides of the truck and are peeled off with a crowbar. No joke.
The cattle that survive the journey to the slaughterhouse are often too weak to walk. “Uncooperative animals are beaten, they have prods poked in their faces and up their rectums,” a former USDA inspector revealed. Cattle are forced down a chute and shot in the head with a captive-bolt gun, which is supposed to make it so they can’t feel pain. However, the assembly line’s goal is speed; more cows killed equals more money. The workers never stop, whether an animal is alive or not. Sometimes the animals’ legs are cut off while they are 100% conscious. Other times, cows’ throats are cut and they continue suffering for as much as seven minutes afterward. The poor animals are murdered one part at a time. What kind of sick show is this?
It doesn’t even stop there. Once the cows are butchered, they are cleaned and injected with a cocktail of water, salt, preservatives and a chemical solution to “enhance” flavor, mask any foul ones, prolong the meat’s “freshness” or make it more tender. Much of this meat is then placed in airtight Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) and inserted with gases to delay the aging process and make it appear fresher/redder for longer during transit and on store shelves. Many meat packagers purposefully leave off the “packaged on” date, because if you saw that you wouldn’t buy it. All these processes are meant to provide more profits for the companies while worsening the health of the consumers. And the majority of the public is completely unaware this entire process is even happening! If they knew...would they still support this industry? This is why I am sharing! If we don’t inform ourselves, no one else will. The government and food agencies are not interested in our health. Are you disgusted yet? Good! You should be. And now you are armed with knowledge and motive for change. There are better options for you, your family, the animals and our planet. Options that don’t hurt cows, your health and our earth!
Don’t forget about the astronomically devastating environmental impacts and pollution caused by cattle farming. This infographic captures it well--check it out and be informed. Here’s just a couple of the statistics it lists: if ONE person changes to a vegan diet instead of eating meat, they can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 TONS A YEAR! Raising animals for food uses almost HALF of our water supply in the U.S. and takes up 30% of the world’s land mass! Whoa!
One of the best choices you can make for our world is to adopt a vegan, animal-loving diet and philosophy. In my next blog, I will share tips on how to go vegan...or at least take baby steps toward lessening your impact on animals and the environment. Not ready to quit meat cold turkey (no pun intended)? Start by eating meat one less day a week (i.e. Meatless Monday). Reference that infographic again to see all the difference you’ll make--per meatless meal! When you see how easy that is, try bumping your meat-free days to two, three, four or more. And if on any days you do have meat, make sure it is organic and grass fed! This is currently the only standardized way (short of knowing your farmer) to ensure your meat didn’t go through everything this article talks about.
Stay tuned for more! And if you found this blog eye-opening, please share it with a friend. And have that friend share it, too. The more people who know the truth behind the meat industry, the more lives are changed by the power of knowledge, choice and informed action. We can change the cycle by starving it. Don’t give this industry any more money; they are poisoning animals, us, and our world! Thank you!
Resources and helpful links:
Peta Article on Transporting Cows for Slaughter:
Informative Article on Beef Industry:
Vegan Outreach: Environmental Destruction