That Beef Recall

So the US Department of Agriculture is recalling 143 million pounds of beef.

Why? Because of alleged "animal cruelty."

According to a report in the New York Times, the "Humane Society of the United States showed videotapes on January 30 showing workers at the plant using several abusive techniques to make animals stand up and pass a pre-slaughter inspection. These included ramming cattle with forklift blades and using a hose to simulate the feeling of drowning."

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Does someone actually think this is new or unusual activity in American slaughterhouses?

Answer: it's not. I'm writing a book about meat in America since just after the Civil War, and this news report sound exactly like newspaper reports from the 1870s!

Folks, this is how you get affordable meat. This is it. This is business as usual in American meatpacking. You want "humane" meat? Okay. Fine. Great and noble goal.

You prepared to pay, oh, $20.00 a pound for hamburger?

I didn't think so.

I don't have any great conclusions to draw here (except the questions I just posed). But before people get all excited and huffy and carried away ... well, a little perspective works wonders.