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Earlier this month, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials announced a meat recall for nearly 90,000 pounds of ground meat from Central Valley Meat, a dairy cow slaughter plant in California. The recall was issued based on concerns that the meat, which was being distributed to student cafeterias via the National School Lunch Program, may contain small pieces of plastic.
This is not the first time Central Valley Meat has been in the news. In August 2012, Compassion Over Killing released an undercover video exposing rampant abuse of animals inside this facility. Our video reveals shockingly cruel mistreatment of animals including downed cows unable to walk being repeatedly poked, electrically prodded, lifted by their tails and eventually shot in the head, sometimes multiple times. In some cases, workers even suffocated them by stepping on their mouths and nostrils. Watch our video (embedded below).
After viewing our footage, the USDA immediately shut the facility down, citing “egregious inhumane handling and treatment of livestock,” and this horrific story of abuse grabbed national and international headlines, including an exclusive investigative report on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer.
As part of the USDA shut down, federal nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program, suspended purchases from Central Valley Meat. Several major food retailers also severed ties with this facility, including In-N-Out Burger, McDonald’s and Costco.
Later that month, however, the USDA lifted its operational suspension, allowing Central Valley Meat to reopen, and shortly thereafter, the federal government resumed its purchases from the facility.
This is also not the first time that meat purchased by the federal government, destined to feed America’s students through the National School Lunch Program, has been recalled – and it likely won’t be the last.
When adding it all up – from meat recalls to slaughterhouse shut-downs – it’s becoming increasingly clear that perhaps the safest and healthiest solution for our schools is to start subtracting meat while adding vegetarian options to the school lunch equation.
Read more about our investigation inside Central Valley Meat, and take steps to protect your health—and animals—by choosing vegetarian foods.