Let's see slaughterhouse transparency! Put video cameras in industrial animal agricultural facilities!
I honestly think this is one of the most important pieces of activism any of us can work on during this decade! It has enormous potential for a wide variety of interests.
Here are Six Reasons For Video Cameras
1. Animal welfare
- Video cameras would like reduce animal cruelty by encouraging workers to act in accordance with the law, because who knows who is watching? Current animal cruelty laws are not being enforced; this would help enforce them as well as help enforce future animal welfare laws.
2. Animal rights
- Transparency in the meat and dairy industries do not harm the animal liberation movement. Cameras do not condone animal rights violations, they merely record them. Cameras would likely reduce meat consumption
by helping some people become more aware of where their meat comes from. And because many slaughterhouses are currently violating health, safety, and cruelty laws, cameras would likely cut into their bottom line and make meat more expensive, which would also reduce meat consumption. With a growing trend towards plant-based diets and away from meat consumption, these cameras could help urge many people into veganism. Moreover, cameras alleviate some of the burden on animal advocates to witness animal cruelty and help remove some of the ethical dilemmas surrounding undercover investigations.
3. Labor rights
- Cameras would help protect whistle-blowers and help ensure worker safety. Cameras would prove that slaughterhouse work is dangerous
and could provide for better worker protections. No longer would it be the worker's word against the boss's word; it would be the camera proof, right there on video. Let's see just how accurate those injury reports are.
- Cameras would help reduce the number of recalls and related expenses due to health and safety violations. Also, because cameras would likely force all slaughterhouses to follow the laws, it would level the playing field a bit. Meat and dairy prices would probably rise, but it would merely be a reflection of actual costs and not an artificial inflation of price
- Cameras would monitor all activities in slaughterhouses and industrial animal agriculture, including violations of environmental protection laws
6. Public health
- Cameras would help protect against downed animals entering the meat supply. And it would speed up investigations of contaminated meat or dairy. The next e coli or salmonella outbreak might not be prevented just yet, but if there are cameras, at least there will be documented evidence of the origin of the contamination. And hopefully, with thorough monitoring of cameras, the next outbreak can be prevented.Here is a sample letter that you can copy to write your own to send to Congress.
This letter is to encourage video cameras in slaughterhouses.
Here is the letter:
After the Humane Society's slaughterhouse investigation of Westland/Hallmark meat
, I understand that several members of Congress are calling for video cameras to be installed at slaughterhouses.
I whole-heartedly support the move to require more transparency of slaughterhouses. Please require video cameras in all slaughterhouses.
Video cameras are an excellent, economical supplement or alternative to hiring, training, and staffing more USDA inspectors. Video cameras would help create more transparency in animal agriculture and would likely result in better accordance with the laws protecting human health and preventing animal cruelty.
Transparency is a really good step to improving farm animals’ lives and preventing cruelty like that shown in the HSUS video. It's also a great idea to improve accordance with labor laws, public health laws, and environmental protection laws.
USDA inspectors apparently aren’t doing their jobs. This was evidenced by the HSUS undercover video, many other pro-animal organizations’ undercover work, and by recent news from the Associated Press in “Union head claims USDA tried to intimidate employees
" The head of the union that represents 6,000 federal food inspectors told a congressional committee Thursday that the Agriculture Department tried to intimidate him and other employees who reported violations of regulations […]"
" Union chief Stan Painter said that following a mad cow disease scare in 2003, he told superiors that new food safety regulations for slaughtered cattle were not being uniformly enforced. Painter said he was told to drop the matter, and when he didn’t, was grilled by department officials and then placed on disciplinary investigative status."
" […] He said that supervisors tell workers to “let the system work” rather than cite slaughterhouses for violations."
Another article in the LA Times titled "Meat inspection is adequate, USDA official tells Congress
" confirms that there are not enough inspectors to do adequate inspections:
"Stan Painter […] said inspectors were swamped with work. Painter said that video monitoring would help deter slaughterhouses from mistreating animals but that hiring more inspectors was even more vital."
“'The shortages are putting consumers at risk because there are not enough of us to do our job,' he said."
"Lisa Shames, a congressional researcher with the Government Accountability Office, said food inspectors at plants she recently visited 'told us they were stretched thin.'”
But the USDA said video cameras would be too expensive. We know that’s a lie. Virtually every business owner has video cameras these days and the going rates for video camera installation are reasonable, particularly when compared with the cost of recalled meat to the economy and to public health.
Egregious, cruel slaughter is apparently business as usual. And it won’t stop until there is transparency in the industry. More laws regulating animal agriculture won’t help unless those laws are enforced. And currently, the laws already on the books are not enforced. True transparency is needed.
Please require video cameras in the slaughterhouses!
Feel free to copy my letter entirely or use portions of it in your own letter. You can find your representatives’ contact information at congress.org
And by all means, please sign the petition here!