Temple Grandin, Ph.D., professor of animal science at Colorado State University, has issued a statement in regards to the undercover video shot by animal rights group Compassion Over Killing at Central Valley Meat Co. The video alleges numerous instances of animal abuse at the hands of employees of the California slaughterhouse, which has been shut down by the USDA.
The statement reads:
“I have reviewed the video posted today by Compassion Over Killing several times. In general, the narration of the video misleads the viewer into thinking some things are happening that are not. For example, the cattle in the video are properly stunned with one exception that I observed. Properly stunned, unconscious and insensible livestock will exhibit some reflexive kicking, especially of the unrestrained rear leg, after they have been stunned. This is normal and occurs because the brain is no longer in control. In fact you can remove the head and the legs will still kick violently. In addition, one animal that showed a trembling head while coming off a conveyor was actually having what is called a “tonic spasm” and was clearly insensible as evidenced by its floppy tongue hanging out.
“Statements in the video that captive bolt guns do not work to make animals insensible to pain are not true. One gun observed appeared to be brand new and state of the art. However, all guns are precision machinery that must be cleaned and maintained every day in order to operate effectively.
“In addition, standing on the nose after captive bolt stunning is not a normal industry practice and must be stopped.
“I did observe some overly aggressive and unacceptable use of electric prods with non-ambulatory cattle and in sensitive areas like the face. While there are times when prods are absolutely necessary, they must be used sparingly and never in the face or other sensitive areas. I would classify this as egregious animal abuse. This plant needs to rely less on prods and move to lower stress driving tools. Devices as simple as a stick with an inflated plastic bag on the end can be extremely effective in moving livestock.
“In general, cattle are handled much more easily by calm and patient handlers. The more agitated they become, the more difficult they become to move. I have advised the company about specific strategies for improving handling, like using a simple sheet of cardboard to move animals.
“Some of the major issues in the video originate due to the poor condition of the animals arriving at the plant, many of which should have been euthanized on the farm. I urge the dairy industry to market their cows before they become weak and extremely debilitated.
“A new video will be available this week in which I explain typical, good animal handling, show stunning and explain and show the normal reflexes that occur after stunning. Check animalhandling.org to view this video.”
Source: American Meat Institute