OFFBEAT: If you torture a cow ...

...and no one is around to catch it on hidden camera, is it really our problem? Last week, an undercover investigation by the
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010


...and no one is around to catch it on hidden camera, is it really our problem?

Last week, an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States spurred the largest beef recall in American history.

According to the USDA, a portion of the 143 million pounds of recalled beef was used in school lunch programs around the country.

People were rightly outraged and hysterical because their children may have been exposed to mad cow disease, E.coli and salmonella.

This recall however does not shock me in the slightest.

I'm more surprised the government hasn't recalled every scrap of flesh that's churned out of factory farms and slaughterhouses from sea to shining sea.

The Humane Society investigators caught workers kicking lame cows as they writhed in the mud, too sick and weak to even stand. If the cows did not eventually get up, they were shoved onto forklifts only to be dropped multiple times before being killed and served as lunch to kids all over the country.

The Humane Society undercover video is jarring, but truthfully it is one of the more mild videos when it comes to cruelty and savagery at farms and slaughterhouses.

If your stomach can take it, dozens of videos are all available online.

Factory farming is one of the most bloody and barbaric aspects of our civilized society.

Anyone who has suggested that animals have rights has heard the common but poorly thought out response of, "but aren't there more serious problems than animal cruelty? What about starving children, genocide and global warming?"

To me that's like a one-time murderer arguing with a jury he or she should be acquitted because the law should go after serial killers.

And on a related note, one of the warning signs of a potential serial killer is torturing animals.

I can't justify killing a living being simply because I'm smarter, stronger, more technologically advanced or simply because my taste buds have acquired a liking for them.

But don't take my word for it.

Thomas Edison once said "until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages."

Nobel prize winners George Bernard Shaw and Albert Einstein praised the merits of a vegetarian diet.

This isn't just about what we do and don't eat for lunch -- our eating practices are a symptom of a larger problem.

We're so disconnected from our food source we're shocked when we finally see where it comes from.

Maybe it's time we evaluate the true cost of our lifestyles.

A double-cheeseburger may be 99 cents but who can afford that kind of cruelty?