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Professor, PETA: When no one is looking, Agriprocessors does ‘bad things’
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has released a third video from inside an Agriprocessors kosher meatpacking plant, showing what the organization believes are inhumane slaughtering techniques.
“The undercover video clearly showed that when they think nobody is looking, they do bad things in this plant,” said Dr. Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University who inspected the plant in 2006. At that time, she viewed slaughters that only required one cut and gave Agriprocessors her approval.
The graphic video, shot in August, shows workers making a secondary slaughter cut to a cow’s neck. Shochetim — the rabbis qualified to perform ritual slaughter — do not appear to be either supervising or performing the secondary cuts in the video.
PETA, which has filed a complaint with federal authorities, is demanding that the USDA install video cameras on the kill floor at Agriprocessors for live video-monitoring.
Officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture told the New York Times that they had examined the video and had seen workers at the plant make similar cuts. The violation, said the spokeswoman, were “not egregious” and that the plant was in compliance.
Agriprocessors, according to a USDA Food Safety Inspection Service
spokesman, has agreed to suspend the use of any secondary cuts until it
received approval from the government and the Orthodox Union, a kosher
The ritual slaughter, performed by specialized rabbis, is exempt from certain animal cruelty laws and involves one long cut across the throat. The animal then bleeds out. A second cut is allowed by Jewish law, but only in certain cases and either by one of the rabbis or under such a rabbi’s supervision.
PETA’s battle with Agriprocessors began in June 2003 with a complaint from a whistleblower and a letter from the organization to Agriprocessors. The group told management that they had reports from within the plant, detailing inhumane treatment of the animals during the ritual slaughter. At that time, PETA recommended that Agriprocessors hire Grandin as a consultant.
Two months later, constitutional attorney Nathan Lewin responded to PETA with his own letter. In his response letter, Lewin flatly denies any instance of inhumane treatment at the plant and pointedly states that the group viewed the recommendation of Grandin as blackmail.
PETA spent seven weeks undercover at Agriprocessors before releasing an extremely graphic video in the winter of 2004 that showed several botched slaughters. The video and subsequent public outcry prompted an investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.Â The USDA completed its investigation in April of the following year. It took a full year after the investigation was complete before the department relinquished its findings — and only then through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by PETA. The USDA founded repeated violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act while the agency’s own inspectors watched.