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Slaughterhouse, the Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect,and Inhumane Treatment

HFA Exposť Uncovers Federal Crimes

Activists Cheering - Meat Industry Reeling

www.hfa.org/slaughterhouse.html

It has never been easy to think about what happens behind the closed doors of a slaughterhouse. The American public buys animal flesh wrapped in plastic packages that bear little or no resemblance to the sentient creatures that are killed for the dinner table.

It is widely assumed that farm animals are killed in a clean, orderly process that minimizes stress and pain and ensures the wholesomeness of the resulting product. But that image is about to be forever changed.

Culminating a ten-year undercover investigation by Humane Farming Association Chief Investigator Gail Eisnitz, the doors of America's slaughterhouses have just been blown wide open.

The just-released book, Slaughterhouse, the Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry, chronicles HFA's landmark investigation. In Slaughterhouse, Eisnitz takes readers on an unforgettable journey.

Slaughterhouse recounts Eisnitz's story as she becomes submerged in the slaughterhouse subculture, venturing deeper and deeper into the lives of slaughterhouse workers.

It follows Eisnitz as she encounters and meticulously documents the meat industry's wholesale disregard of the Humane Slaughter Act, a federal law passed in 1958 intended to protect slaughter-bound animals from cruelty.

Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of this remarkable book is just how readable it is. This hard-to-put-down book has been compared to an exciting and well-written detective story. The main difference is that Slaughterhouse is absolutely true.

Eisnitz's investigation begins with a single complaint about a Florida slaughterhouse. A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) worker alleges that cattle there are having their heads skinned while they are fully conscious. Once Eisnitz corroborates that worker's claims, she begins investigating compliance with the Humane Slaughter Act at slaughterhouses across the United States.

Throughout her investigation, Eisnitz gains the trust of slaughterhouse workers - individuals who represent more that two million hours of experience.

Without exception, they admit to deliberately beating, strangling, boiling, or dismembering animals alive - or of failing to report those who do. Many share with her details about the web of violence in which they'd become entangled and the alcoholism and physical abuse which plagued their personal lives.

With fewer slaughterhouses killing an ever-growing number of animals, slaughter "line speeds" have skyrocketed. Now the slaughter line does not stop for anything: Not for injured workers, not for contaminated meat, and least of all, not for slow or disabled animals.

Under federal law, animals are supposed to be rendered unconscious by a single application of a stunning device, generally through an electrical charge or a blow to the brain by a captive bolt gun. Once unconscious, the animal is shackled and hoisted. Then the animal's throat is cut.

Eisnitz reveals that, due to meteoric line speeds, workers are often unable to stun or bleed animals adequately, and, as a result, animals proceed through the butchering process fully conscious.

In the words of one worker: "These hogs get up to the scalding tank, hit the water, and just start screaming and kicking. I'm not sure whether the hogs burn to death before drowning. The water is 140 degrees. I do not believe the hogs go into shock, because it takes them a couple of minutes to stop thrashing. I think they die slowly from drowning."

And, as revealed by another slaughterhouse worker: "When a conscious cow arrives at the first hind-legger, usually the legger tries to make a cut to start skinning out the leg. Unfortunately, it is very difficult and dangerous to do that when an animal is kicking violently. So the legger will cut off the bottom part of the animal's leg he's working on with a pair of clippers."

Employees, required to kill as many as 1,100 hogs an hour, often take out their frustration on the animals.

Workers describe pounding away at cows' heads with ineffective stunning equipment and repeatedly shocking pigs in an often-futile attempt to render them unconscious. Disabled animals are routinely dragged with cables, strangled or beaten to death with lead pipes. And the workers watch as live, struggling hogs are immersed and drowned in the scalding tank.

Eisnitz discovers that poultry, exempt from coverage under the Humane Slaughter Act, are routinely conscious when immered in the scald tank as well.

In an effort to understand how rampant violations could occur right under the noses of USDA inspectors, Eisnitz examines the inspectors' track record for enforcing meat and poultry safety regulations.

Following long government paper trails, she documents how contaminated meat and poultry are pouring out of federally-inspected slaughterhouses. Not surprisingly, deaths from foodborne illness have quadrupled in the past 15 years.

Federal records included in Slaughterhouse show that major meat packers "smoked rancid meat to cover foul odor, or marinated it to disguise slime and smell.... Plant employees missed hide, hair, ear canals, and teeth in product approved by the facility.... Chickens and hams were soaked in chlorine baths to remove slime and odor, and red dye was added to beef to make it appear fresh. Plant managers repeatedly fought to allow 'some contamination' such as feces, grease, hydraulic oil, maggots, metal, floor residue and rancid meat...."

Interviews with parents of the small victims of the virulent, deadly E.coli 0157:H7 graphically underscore the viciousness of a disease caused by the unsanitary and unseemly conditions in America's slaughterhouses.

Finally, Eisnitz goes straight to the top of the federal meat inspectors' union.

Top federal inspectors go on record in the book stating that, due to inspection policies developed in collusion with the meat industry, they are virtually powerless to enforce slaughterhouse laws.

HFA is seeking your support to help expose the crimes and corruption documented in Slaughterhouse, which can be purchased through the HFA web catalogue. Proceeds from the sale of this one-of-a-kind book will help HFA bring its case - and these well-documented facts - directly to the American public and to members of Congress.

Slaughterhouse, the Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect,and Inhumane Treatm

HFA Exposť Uncovers Federal Crimes

Activists Cheering - Meat Industry Reeling

www.hfa.org/slaughterhouse.html

It has never been easy to think about what happens behind the closed doors of a slaughterhouse. The American public buys animal flesh wrapped in plastic packages that bear little or no resemblance to the sentient creatures that are killed for the dinner table.

It is widely assumed that farm animals are killed in a clean, orderly process that minimizes stress and pain and ensures the wholesomeness of the resulting product. But that image is about to be forever changed.

Culminating a ten-year undercover investigation by Humane Farming Association Chief Investigator Gail Eisnitz, the doors of America's slaughterhouses have just been blown wide open.

The just-released book, Slaughterhouse, the Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry, chronicles HFA's landmark investigation. In Slaughterhouse, Eisnitz takes readers on an unforgettable journey.

Slaughterhouse recounts Eisnitz's story as she becomes submerged in the slaughterhouse subculture, venturing deeper and deeper into the lives of slaughterhouse workers.

It follows Eisnitz as she encounters and meticulously documents the meat industry's wholesale disregard of the Humane Slaughter Act, a federal law passed in 1958 intended to protect slaughter-bound animals from cruelty.

Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of this remarkable book is just how readable it is. This hard-to-put-down book has been compared to an exciting and well-written detective story. The main difference is that Slaughterhouse is absolutely true.

Eisnitz's investigation begins with a single complaint about a Florida slaughterhouse. A United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) worker alleges that cattle there are having their heads skinned while they are fully conscious. Once Eisnitz corroborates that worker's claims, she begins investigating compliance with the Humane Slaughter Act at slaughterhouses across the United States.

Throughout her investigation, Eisnitz gains the trust of slaughterhouse workers - individuals who represent more that two million hours of experience.

Without exception, they admit to deliberately beating, strangling, boiling, or dismembering animals alive - or of failing to report those who do. Many share with her details about the web of violence in which they'd become entangled and the alcoholism and physical abuse which plagued their personal lives.

With fewer slaughterhouses killing an ever-growing number of animals, slaughter "line speeds" have skyrocketed. Now the slaughter line does not stop for anything: Not for injured workers, not for contaminated meat, and least of all, not for slow or disabled animals.

Under federal law, animals are supposed to be rendered unconscious by a single application of a stunning device, generally through an electrical charge or a blow to the brain by a captive bolt gun. Once unconscious, the animal is shackled and hoisted. Then the animal's throat is cut.

Eisnitz reveals that, due to meteoric line speeds, workers are often unable to stun or bleed animals adequately, and, as a result, animals proceed through the butchering process fully conscious.

In the words of one worker: "These hogs get up to the scalding tank, hit the water, and just start screaming and kicking. I'm not sure whether the hogs burn to death before drowning. The water is 140 degrees. I do not believe the hogs go into shock, because it takes them a couple of minutes to stop thrashing. I think they die slowly from drowning."

And, as revealed by another slaughterhouse worker: "When a conscious cow arrives at the first hind-legger, usually the legger tries to make a cut to start skinning out the leg. Unfortunately, it is very difficult and dangerous to do that when an animal is kicking violently. So the legger will cut off the bottom part of the animal's leg he's working on with a pair of clippers."

Employees, required to kill as many as 1,100 hogs an hour, often take out their frustration on the animals.

Workers describe pounding away at cows' heads with ineffective stunning equipment and repeatedly shocking pigs in an often-futile attempt to render them unconscious. Disabled animals are routinely dragged with cables, strangled or beaten to death with lead pipes. And the workers watch as live, struggling hogs are immersed and drowned in the scalding tank.

Eisnitz discovers that poultry, exempt from coverage under the Humane Slaughter Act, are routinely conscious when immered in the scald tank as well.

In an effort to understand how rampant violations could occur right under the noses of USDA inspectors, Eisnitz examines the inspectors' track record for enforcing meat and poultry safety regulations.

Following long government paper trails, she documents how contaminated meat and poultry are pouring out of federally-inspected slaughterhouses. Not surprisingly, deaths from foodborne illness have quadrupled in the past 15 years.

Federal records included in Slaughterhouse show that major meat packers "smoked rancid meat to cover foul odor, or marinated it to disguise slime and smell.... Plant employees missed hide, hair, ear canals, and teeth in product approved by the facility.... Chickens and hams were soaked in chlorine baths to remove slime and odor, and red dye was added to beef to make it appear fresh. Plant managers repeatedly fought to allow 'some contamination' such as feces, grease, hydraulic oil, maggots, metal, floor residue and rancid meat...."

Interviews with parents of the small victims of the virulent, deadly E.coli 0157:H7 graphically underscore the viciousness of a disease caused by the unsanitary and unseemly conditions in America's slaughterhouses.

Finally, Eisnitz goes straight to the top of the federal meat inspectors' union.

Top federal inspectors go on record in the book stating that, due to inspection policies developed in collusion with the meat industry, they are virtually powerless to enforce slaughterhouse laws.

HFA is seeking your support to help expose the crimes and corruption documented in Slaughterhouse, which can be purchased through the HFA web catalogue. Proceeds from the sale of this one-of-a-kind book will help HFA bring its case - and these well-documented facts - directly to the American public and to members of Congress.

-- How can you eat meat with a good concience? (meatlessinseattle@aol.com), January 24, 2001

Answers

"How can you eat meat with a good conscience?"

You can't. Meat doesn't have a conscience.

-- (OscarMeyer@weenie.wurx), January 25, 2001.


Personally I feel an obligation to eat meat. They kill the cow to make leather shoes & coats, and the meat is just a by-product. If people didn't eat it, it would just rot out back.

Americans should be more like the Indians and use ALL of the cow. Eat meat until your colon prolapses, so America isn't such a wasteful place.

Frank

-- Someone (ChimingIn@twocents.cam), January 25, 2001.


Frank, I couldn't have said that any better or any more eloquintely!

-- Boswell (fundown@thefarm.net), January 25, 2001.

A meal is not complete unless there is some part of an animal on the plate. However I do prefer that the animal is dead first (except for oysters, they should be eaten live straight from the shell).

-- Malcolm Taylor (taylorm@es.co.nz), January 25, 2001.

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