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HSUS Slips Up -- Slams Packer With No Proof PDF Print E-mail
Written by Steve Dittmer   
Monday, 30 June 2008
AFF Sentinel Vol.5#29

The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) has implied that a packer violated national school lunch meat supply rules apparently just because the packer sometimes bought cattle at an auction market at which an alleged HSUS video showed downer cattle being mistreated.

Akin to branding everyone who drives down a certain street as wrongdoers just because some people commit crimes on that street, HSUS could easily find itself the target of a lawsuit for their stunt at a news conference last week.

HSUS has evidently decided that kids and the national school lunch program is an emotional key they can use in attacking America's beef production system. But after months of undercover surveillance, unable to establish links between its auction videos and the school lunch program, HSUS concocted an elaborately contrived propaganda stunt at a media conference to suggest a "link," even after admitting that is has no evidence.

In true tabloid-style, sensationalist fudging, HSUS referenced its video clips allegedly obtained at a livestock market in Portales, N.M. showing sick and/or injured animals - "downers" -- being improperly handled at the market. Then it recounted the Hallmark/Westland case of a slaughter facility mishandling animals and allegations that downer animals entered the supply chain of Hallmark's school lunch contract. HSUS then mentioned that Caviness Packing of Hereford, Tx. sometimes buys cattle from Portales and that Caviness' Palo Duro division is now the largest school lunch ground beef provider since Hallmark is out of business -- for which HSUS takes credit.

All this under a subheadline reading, "Offenders Include Suppliers to the National School Lunch Program."

Of course, HSUS does not mention that even in the Hallmark case, the recall was based on the potential that some downer cattle that had passed initial inspection were slaughtered for the school lunch program -- not proof made public that any did. HSUS also referred incorrectly to Palo Duro as the top school lunch program supplier.

HSUS wants everyone to jump to the conclusion - especially in its artfully edited and narrated video -- that downer cattle from Portales end up at Caviness and eventually in the school lunch program.

Yet Wayne Pacelle, HSUS CEO, himself admitted privately prior to the group's Washington news conference that it has no proof that Caviness bought downer cattle or that such cattle ever got into the school lunch supply chain that way.

"HSUS does not have any evidence that downers abused at Portales went into the food supply or into the National School Lunch Program," Pacelle wrote.

Both Caviness Beef Packing and the National Meat Association have confirmed in releases that HSUS has admitted having no proof of any link between downer cows, Caviness and the school lunch program, yet HSUS obviously wants people to believe there is one.

Caviness has added that it has both in-house and third party records and the audit reports to verify that it does not accept or process any downer cattle.

The release and video then points out that USDA regulations banning downer cattle in federal meat supplies "may not extend the policy to downed dairy cows at livestock auctions where the same sort of animal cruelty exists" -- implying that animal mistreatment is common at auction markets. HSUS is asking the federal government for further regulations on animal handling at auction markets.

That HSUS is obviously trying to mislead the public and the government with inaccuracies and imaginative leaps, throws doubt on the credibility of HSUS' campaign against the meat industry.

While mistreatment of animals is never proper, HSUS using video to suggest wrongdoing without proof and using kids and the school lunch program as a pawn is a disgusting ploy neither the public, government officials nor Congress should fall for.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 03 July 2008 )
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