”The article “Downed Cow” 28 years ago changed my life forever.” – Maria Dolores Power
The truck carrying this cow was unloaded at Walton Stockyards in Kentucky one September morning. After the other animals were removed from the truck, she was left behind, unable to move.
Stockyard workers used customary electric prods in her ear to try to get her out of the truck, then they beat her and kicked her in the face, ribs, and back, but she still didn’t move. They tied a rope around her neck, tied the other end to a post in the ground, and drove the truck away. The cow was dragged along the floor of the truck and fell to the ground, breaking both her hind legs and her pelvis in the process. She remained this way until 7:30 that evening.
For the first three hours, she lay in the hot sun crying out. Periodically, when she urinated or defecated, she used her front legs to drag herself along the gravel roadway to a clean spot. She also tried to crawl to a shaded area, but she was unable to move far enough. Altogether, she only managed to crawl between 13 and 14 yards.
The stockyard employees wouldn’t allow her any drinking water; the only water she received was given to her by Jessie Pierce, a local animal rights activist. After she was contacted by a woman who witnessed the incident, Jessie arrived at noon. Stockyard workers did not cooperate to help her, so she called the Kenton County police. A police officer arrived but was instructed by his superiors to do nothing; he left at 1 p.m.
The stockyard operator informed Jessie that he had permission from the insurance company to kill the cow but wouldn’t do it until Jessie left. Although doubtful that he would keep his word, Jessie left at 3. She returned at 4:30 and found the stockyard deserted. Three dogs were attacking the cow, who was still alive. She had suffered a number of bite wounds, and her drinking water had been removed. Jessie contacted the state police.
Four officers arrived at 5:30. State trooper Jan Wuchner wanted to shoot the cow but was told that a veterinarian should kill her. The facility’s two veterinarians would not euthanize her; they claimed that in order to preserve the value of the meat, the cow could not be destroyed. A butcher eventually arrived at 7:30 and shot the cow.
Her body was purchased for $307.50. When the stockyard operator was questioned by a reporter from The Kentucky Post, he stated, “We didn’t do a damned thing to it”, and referred to the attention given to the cow by humane workers and police as “bullcrap”. He laughed throughout the interview, saying that there was nothing wrong with the way that the cow was treated.
This is not an isolated case. It is so common that animals in this condition are known in the meat industry as “downers”. According to the meat industry’s own statistics, each year, millions of chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows arrive at the slaughterhouse either dead or too sick or injured to walk. The animals become severely crippled or ill after a lifetime of abuse in factory farms and a very difficult journey to the slaughterhouse, during which they are shipped through all weather extremes without any food or water.
Factory farms don’t provide individualized medical care or humane euthanasia to sick animals: It’s cheaper to let the animals suffer and eventually die. The suffering caused by the meat, egg, and dairy industries’ cost-cutting measures is enormous.
The egg industry, for example, confines between five and 11 birds to small wire battery cages, despite the fact that the extreme crowding causes some of the birds to get sick and die. Egg-industry expert Bernard Rollin sums up the simple, cold-hearted reasoning of egg factory-farm operators by saying that “chickens are cheap, cages are expensive”
. After PETA brought much-needed attention to this issue, the Kenton County Police Department adopted a policy requiring that euthanasia be performed on all downed animals immediately, whether they are on the farm, in transit, or at the slaughterhouse.
Many other law enforcement agencies don’t have such policies, and downed animals continue to suffer everywhere. It is up to the public to demand change in how the meat, egg, and dairy industries treat animals, and it is up to consumers to refuse to purchase the products of this miserable industry. Otherwise, many more animals will continue to suffer the same agonizing fate of this nameless cow.
So what can you do? You can go vegan. It’s as simple as that. This torture isn’t endured by animals in meat industries only. Go vegan and refuse to fund and support this insane cruelty and heartlessness. Spread the word. Educate.
A diet which includes animal products and byproducts are not good for you, for the animals, or for the planet.
Eating beef isn’t as manly or as patriotic as you think it is, and it definitely isn’t doing your health or the health of the planet any good.
Here are 10 reasons why you should skip the Big Mac and leave cows to get on with their own business:
1. Someone had to die for that steak (obviously). Beef is the flesh of a cow, and that cow was once a living, breathing, feeling individual that had a right to live free from pain and suffering. Cows are branded, have their horns cut off and males are castrated, all without anesthesia. At the slaughterhouse, they are shot with a bolt gun to the brain, hung upside down and their throats are slit. Many cows are still conscious throughout the process.
2. Dioxin. Beef contains worrying quantities of the toxic organic chemical dioxin which has been linked to cancer, ADD, immune deficiency, chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, birth defects and nerve and blood disorders. A single hamburger contains 300 times as much dioxin as the EPA states as an acceptable dose for an adult!
3. Beef is an inefficient use of grain. One third of the world’s grain harvest is used to feed cattle. It’s not logical to grow grain to feed animals when there are an estimated one in every six people going hungry each day, and only a fraction of what we feed cows is actually turned into flesh that humans can eat. It’s much more efficient for grain to be consumed directly by humans.
4. Beef is a waste of water. Water is a precious resource and it’s wasteful and irresponsible to squander this for something we don’t need. It takes an average of 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef. There is no alternative to water so we cannot underestimate usage. If we run out, we cannot grow food or maintain vital life functions.
5. Beef is a pollutant. Factory farms and feedlots produce a massive amount of toxic waste that pollutes both the air and water. The feces, which is stored in huge lagoons, seeps into nearby waterways killing fish and destroying water quality. It also emits harmful chemicals into the air. Studies show that people living near factory farms have higher rates of miscarriage, neurological diseases and respiratory problems.
6. Beef is destroying the world’s rainforests. The high demand and price of beef encourages ranchers to burn forests to create new rangelands. This never ending cycle of destruction has driven thousands of plant and animal species to extinction, and is causing a strain on the earth’s ability to covert carbon dioxide into oxygen.
7. Beef is causing desertification. Beef production is one of the major causes of desertification around the world. Delicate root systems are destroyed by overgrazing, unsettling the topsoil which is then eroded by winds leaving only the clay/sand subsoil behind.
8. Happy Meals are making our children obese. Fast food industry giants target children in their marketing, causing them to associate eating at these restaurants as a positive and fun experience, and as a result our children are fatter and unhealthier than ever before.
9. Cows are amazing animals. Like humans, cows have best friends and form close friendships with their herd mates. They choose to spend their time with 2-4 preferred individuals, and can hold grudges for years if they take a disliking to someone. They get excited when they solve problems, they like sleeping close to their families, can detect odors up to five miles away, have a 360 degree panoramic vision, are devotional mothers and are generally extremely inquisitive animals.
10. It’s probably not beef. Chances are that lasagna you’re tucking into is not even beef after all. It could be horse, donkey, pig or who knows, it may even be stray dogs or cats that have been rounded up from the streets, especially if it’s an imported product!
Tell me again how your egg addiction is worth their pain? “
You can’t walk a mile in the shoes of a battery chicken, because battery chickens can’t walk a foot, much less a mile. But stand for an hour in the cage of a battery chicken, Stand jammed so tightly in a cage with other birds that you cannot turn around or stretch your wings. Stand up to your knees in your own excrement and the excrement of your fellow prisoners while being constantly splattered with the feces and urine of prisoners in cages stacked above you. Breathe air so poisonous with ammonia from the urine that your jailers and torturers have to wear protective masks when they enter the building. Never see sunshine. Never breathe fresh air. If you are injured or fall ill, just suffer; nobody cares, nobody is going to send for a doctor. If you die, so what? It’s cheaper that way.” -A quote from a speech transcript by Norm Phelps