Recently, the Humane Society of the United States (USUS) released results of an undercover investigation at the Hallmark Meat Packing Company in Chino, California. It garnered attention on the nightly news for oh, let’s say, about one night. But underlying this mistreatment of the downed cattle shown in the picture below and the video I have included, is a pervasive distinction and yes, hypocrisy, in this country between animals designated as “pets” and those not fortunate enough to generate that moniker.

Photo Credit: Humane Society of the United States

A pet is “any domesticated animal kept as a companion.” If animals are labeled as pets, they are coddled, pampered, spoiled, decked out in special outfits, taken on trips, fed like royalty, inoculated against diseases, taken for regular health checkups, and left bequests in wills. If, on the other hand, animals are labeled as part of the food chain, they are prodded, shocked, beaten, kicked, stomped, and slaughtered. The only distinction? Their categorization – either as a pet or a food product. How is it we justify two entirely different treatment systems for animals?


An animal is an animal is an animal – the classification shouldn’t matter. I have been around both categories of animals. I have had dozens of pets over the years: dogs, cats, ferrets, and a wolf. I also have been around farm animals for about half of my 60 years – first, with my great grandfather and his farm, and later with my ex-husband and his farm.

I am a vegetarian and have been one since March 1990. I cannot imagine ever eating meat again; however, that is my choice. I do not expect to change anyone who is not willing to change. But I am absolutely outraged – vegetarianism aside – that we, as a nation, would tolerate the cruel treatment of cattle, pigs, chickens, turkeys, or any other “food chain” animal in such inhumane ways simply because they are designated as non-pets.

It makes me sick to watch the USHS video and think that there are those people out there who have so little respect for a living creature that they would torture it before its death. I know people who do not know and do not care from where their meat products originate. They simply state that it comes from the store in a neatly wrapped package. The store is simply the last step in the chain to your table and stomach.

Fast Food Nation provides a glimpse behind the scenes of slaughtering and “preparing” animals for human consumption.



While I have no illusions as to changing any minds as to their choice of protein sources, I hope that you will watch the two video clips and come away with a sense of our hypocrisy when it comes to treatment of animals – is it a pet or is it not?


About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, Confined Animal Feeding Operations, Consumer Affairs, Cruelty to Animals, Fast Food, Industrial farms. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Sean says:

    One of the reasons I don’t eat meat anymore 🙂

  2. Phil Marx says:

    Several years ago I worked at a meat processing plant in Iowa. I was never in a position to see the live animals or their demise. But I saw other things of inerest.

    One day I was pulled off the line and taken to a back room with several other people. My supervisor instructed me to bring the shovel (the one we used to scrape the sludge off the floor) with me. There were several large (3′ cubed) boxes of ground beef that were severely damaged. I think they had been stacked and had fallen. Our job was to transfer the product from the damaged boxes to new boxes, using the sludge shovels.

    And you should have seen it when an abscess was discovered. According to the law, whenever this occurs, the line must be shut down and sterilized. Of course in reality this only occurred when one of the few FDA inspectors happened to see it. You never saw a bunch of managers move as quickly as they did when they were trying to hide an abscess from the FDA.

  3. Phil:

    I think it probably is safe to say most Americans don’t pay much attention or have any idea as to what goes on in processing plants. I imagine it makes it easier for them, and if they saw the things you saw, I bet they would think twice when they looked at that package of juicy steaks in the cooler.

    I remember watching my great grandfather wring a chicken’s neck to kill it. And, the first time I saw my husband (now ex-husband) help in slaughtering a cow for freezer beef, I thought I would get sick. They did it in the drive that went around our house, and they shot the cow in the head. Then they hauled it up by its back legs with a bobcat and slit its throat. It wasn’t even dead when they slit its throat – that’s when I started eating less and less meat. But that was in the 1970s, so it still took me about 15 years more to get meat completely out of my diet.

  4. Andy says:

    Ditto Sean –

    I took a class at IPFW in the early 90’s titled “Animal Ethics”. It was taught by a professor, I believe her last name was Squadrito. This class opened my eyes to alot of the injustices animals are subjected to. It was also insturmental in me becoming a vegetarian.

    I agree with you Charlotte, most Americans don’t pay much attention to what goes on in meat processing plants. Just as long as they get their quarter pounder with cheese within two minutes of pulling up to the drive-thru, its fine with them.

  5. Andy:

    I took the same class in the early ’80s when I was at IPFW. I also had the same instructor you had – I believe her first name was Kathy. That means she has been there a long time.

    When I became vegetarian for good in 1990, I also decided to use only cruelty-free products. What a hassle back in those days – even if it has been just 20 years – the only line of products I could find at that time was Aveda. Now almost all shampoos, make-up, and other products are cruelty free. How times change. When consumers truly put their minds to something, it can change the way things are done.

  6. Laurie says:

    I heard that there is going to be a recall of beef due to the horrible conditions that the cows are being forced to live in. Is there any truth to this???

  7. Truth says:

    Thank you for sharing those video clips. With that said, as an animal rights activist (and of course, vegan) there is so much more the general public does not know. I research this every day of my life, and you cannot believe the abuse that these sentient beings are forced to endure until their final moments, and of course those final moments are a nightmare for those non-human animals. Anyone who witnesses what goes on in the slaughter house, and the abuse before that, and can still pretend they are a carnivore is a sad human, indeed.

    Thanks for your time.

    By the way, I’m just starting an animal rights blog on blogspot. It’s called Animal Rights Indiana.

  8. Kev Sod says:

    Charlotte A. Weybright”I think it probably is safe to say most Americans don’t pay much attention or have any idea as to what goes on in processing plants.”

    I guess we can say it’s kinda like the Presidential elections with Americans, they vote for what sounds good, “CHANGE”, but have no clue exactly what that word “change” means until they’re paying more and more taxes, or until they’re forced to buy some federal health care insurance they don’t want, and when they refuse, their pay is attached!

    Phil Marx “I was never in a position to see the live animals or their demise. But I saw other things of inerest.”

    At what point did you contact the authorities?

    I admit, I’m a meat eater, I enjoy it, I enjoy salad too, I’m an life long gardener. I believe God gave us canines to eat meat. If you don’t beleive in God, then mother nature gave us canines.

    Either way, thats no reason for this disgusting behavior from humans to sink to such levels of unmentionable cruelty to animals that even God Himself, and Mother nature cannot bear to witness this cowardly and inhumane treatment of these animals which are meant to be nourshment for us, and enjoyment and help mates for us.

    The same can be said for poachers who kill elephants just for ivory, or the circus trainers and handlers who cowardly abuse the most beautiful animals on earth;

    or governments who allow killing of sharks just for their fins a/o kill dolphins with such callousness so their soup will be a delicacy.

    This is waste, pure waste.

  9. Truth says:

    Hi Kev,

    While I do not want to debate you on whether we should eat meat or not, you did mention the ‘canines’. I’m sorry, but I must disagree with you on this. Please try to compare our ‘canines’ to those of a lion, tiger, bear, shark, etc. Our teeth were not made, nor can they, tear through raw flesh. I have never seen a human take down a whitetail with his/her bare hands, bite through thick skin and hide a gnaw on raw flesh and bone. Only true carnivores are able to do this, because they REQUIRE this in order to live. Humans on the other hand, do not require flesh in order to live or thrive, and actually enjoy better health through a vegetarian diet. Our bodies truly do not have the physiological makeup for meat eating. I would highly recommend reading this:


  10. thinkin' says:

    Over years of trying to make sense of what life throws at us I have have come to a belief that I am lucky to have and be what I am but also realize that while I cannot control many things , I should not harm things that do not threaten me . I do not claim to know who or what was/is ultimately responsible for the way things are.
    It seems that humans chose to assume that they are more intelligent and deserving that many creatures and resources are for them to use as they wish for their benefit. I would like to live in good mental and physical health long enough to see what happens …[maybe not].

  11. sanctuary says:

    Very good site. Thank you!

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