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Recent Beef Recall is Another Horrific Example of Animal Abuse

Mar 21, 2008
If you missed the news on the recent beef recall, you can still learn all about it by entering Mad Cow Disease in the Google search engine. The video shows employees of the Hallmark Meat Company pushing cows with a fork lift and poking them with pitch forks. The cows were old and sick, not able to keep up with the other cows. They were supposed to call the beef inspector and let him decide if those animals were fit to be slaughtered. Beef from sick cows causes Mad Cow Disease and E Coli Virus, both potentially deadly diseases. Proper protocol was not followed in this situation probably because of concerns over bottom line profits.

I watched the video with horror. The animals were crying out in anguish as they were being pushed around, helpless to stand up and defend themselves. The fork lifts were bad enough, but they were repeatedly stuck with pitch forks. Can you imagine how painful that would be? As this video ended it was followed with more videos of animal abuse cases nationwide. From puppy mills in LA to cock fights in the South, there were many documented cases of animals being mistreated. The motives were either pleasure or profit but in all cases there was total disregard for the rights of animals.

Abuse is a wide spread problem affecting many areas of our population. It can take the form of domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, sibling abuse, drug abuse, and animal abuse just to name a few. Have we become desensitized to the brutal acts of others? Do we think it is someone else's problem and not ours? Or do we care but don't know what to do? The reasons someone becomes an abuser are many but I think it is a learned behavior. Abusers were often abused as children, and grow up to become offenders themselves.

I believe that parents teach their children to respect all things people, animals, plants, the environment, other people's feelings, etc. Parents should teach their children how to treat others. But unfortunately parents that are abusers themselves do not have the capacity to teach their children respect for others. A child growing up in a violent environment thinks that is normal.

One of the really disturbing things about the recent beef recall was the company involved distributes products to schools, the national nutrition program and senior programs. They were even awarded the Meat Supplier of the year for 2004 and 2005. All abuse is unjustifiable but to abuse those who can not defend themselves is totally inexcusable. Our children and our elderly are our most vulnerable citizens. Children deserve the chance to grow up and have a life. Our seniors took care of us when we were children, and it is now our time to take care of them. These two groups are very susceptible to Mad Cow Disease. Providers that supply to them should be held to a higher standard.

The employees involved in this incident were charged with animal cruelty. Perhaps that is not enough. I do not know if the company was fined or punished. I do know the Department of Agriculture reports that out of 66 suspensions in 2007, 12 of these were related to animas abuse. That is 12 too many. Until we decide that we have had enough abuse, it is likely to continue. We need to become so outraged that we are inspired to take action.

What can you do? Get involved with a local organization. Most of them always need volunteers and funds. If you suspect someone is being abused, don't be afraid to get involved. Be careful but don't just turn your back on the situation. Two of the fastest growing forms of abuse are internet abuse and elder abuse. Don't think that what you say about someone on line doesn't matter. There is a live person behind the computer screen. The estimates are that one out of every four adults is now caring for an elderly love one.

This is difficult work, time consuming, costly, and emotionally taxing. Out of frustration the caretakers sometimes abuse those they love. We need to do more to provide support for our caretakers, as well as pay closer attention to how our senior citizens are being treated.

My philosophy has always been to do unto others as I would have them do unto me. I know the cycle of abuse can be broken because I broke it with my family. Abuse is a choice. We have to decide not to be an abuser. The next time you get ready to do something to someone, stop and think, would you like to have that done to you? I don't think any of us want to be pushed with a fork lift or poked with a pitch fork.
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