[Philadelphia Daily News - opinion]
SO IT'S official: Downers - cows too sick to stand, the ones at highest risk for mad cow disease - were indeed getting into the food supply and being fed to our nation's children in the school lunch program.
Steve Mendell, CEO of the meat plant made infamous by undercover Humane Society video footage, said so himself on Wednesday while testifying before Congress.
Hours before, Mendell had submitted written testimony saying the cows seen being tormented by his workers were euthanized and "not put into commerce." But a House subcommittee made him watch all the videos. "With his head in hand at times," the Press reported, he watched "cows dragged by chains, jabbed by forklifts and shocked - methods to get them into position to be slaughtered," including footage of at least two in the "kill chute."
Mendell retracted his previous denial. Yes, downers had been slaughtered for food. "I was shocked, I was horrified and I was sickened" by the video, he said. He had earlier called it "impossible" that cows were shocked.
There's a holiday coming up March 20: The Great American Meatout. It's a chance to step back and look at what you believe and vote your conscience when you sit down at the table.
At the very least you may want to restrict your meat purchases to sources you know personally. If ignorance is bliss, it's also just about impossible now.
The reality of factory-farming animal abuse is clear. It's a toss-up whether animal cruelty being ignored and denied or the rise in food-borne diseases like E. coli is a bigger problem.
Either way: Let's open our eyes, and cut the baloney. *
Vance Lehmkuhl is the online editor of the Daily News.