March 11, 2008

In stunning testimony on Capitol Hill today, Steve Mendell, President of the now defunct Westland/Hallmark Meat Company, admitted that so-called "downer cows," cows too sick to stand on their own, were illegally slaughtered and forced into the US food supply.

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(Note: video contains disturbing footage of animal abuse)


The head of the Southern California slaughterhouse at the center of the largest beef recall in U.S. history acknowledged Wednesday that cattle were illegally slaughtered at his plant and that cows too sick to stand were forced into the food supply.

Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. President Steve Mendell made the admissions after a congressional panel forced him to watch undercover video of abuses of cattle at his plant. Mendell watched head-in-hand as cows were dragged by chains, jabbed by forklifts and shocked to get them into the box where they'd be slaughtered.

This is what happens when you have a political ideology and party who believes that government and regulatory oversight is an impediment -- rather than a necessary instrument -- to protecting the public interest. Whether it's poisonous lead paint in our children's toy bins or tainted meat on our dinner tables, government must play a vital role in ensuring consumer products are safe for public consumption. Bravo to the House Energy and Oversight Committee for exposing this travesty and holding accountable those responsible.

UPDATE: The Westland/Hallmark Meat Company was the source of the nearly 37 million pounds of recalled meat earlier this month.

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