Why do many believe cattle are butchered alive?
I see the myth pop up pretty often with people citing videos of cattle being "butchered alive" when it's pretty obvious the animal is dead. It seems pretty prevalent among vegan websites. Someone with a background in animal production knows better considering that meat is ruined when an animal is stressed prior to slaughter, and it would be unsafe for the workers with such a large animal thrashing about. Butchers on the farm often let the animal lie for awhile since it continues to have muscle spasms even after it is dead for these very safety reasons. Yet many people either don't know these things, or disregard it as propaganda since they've never seen it firsthand.
Any ideas on what factors play a large role in perpetuating the myth that butchering alive is a standard practice? Is it propaganda from animal rights and political vegan and vegetarian groups that push it along, or is a lack of transparency among meat producers where only those involved actually see and know what's going on? Any other comments on other factors potentially playing a role here? If anyone knows good papers on books how rumors persist would be interesting too.
- Anonymous4 years agoFavorite Answer
As a former Veterinary Medical Officer with the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), I can tell you that in the red meat part of the slaughter industry (cows, pigs, horses in the past), that The Humane Slaughter Act is taken very seriously and enforced with zero tolerance. The animals are stunned to render them unconscious. No chemicals are used as these leave residues in the meat, which could be harmful to the consumers. In the larger facilities, a captive bolt gun is used on cattle, and electricity is used on pigs. Small handguns might be used in small facilities. The animal is then shackled around a hind leg and hung upside down on a moving rail, or chain. The animals' carotid arteries and jugular veins (in the neck) are then severed. The animals' deaths result from loss of blood. No other incisions can be made to the body until all the blood has been drained. Inspectors from the facility and the government are always there during this process to ensure that the animals are stunned properly, and are unconscious before any other knife use occurs. It does benefit the industry to treat the animals humanely, not only for the quality of the finished product, but the demands of their customers (steakhouses, grocers, restaurants like Dairy Queen, Wendy's, etc., who send their own auditors to observe the process and ensure humane treatment). While the Humane Slaughter Act does not yet apply to poultry (chickens, turkeys, ducks, etc.), humane slaughter practices are followed for the same reasons as the red meat industry. Kosher slaughter is approved by the USDA if it is done by a certified professional. The difference is that the animal is not stunned before the bleeding process. However, this type of slaughter is still very humane and the animals are treated with great respect.
As far as the outcry over animals being butchered alive, it is worthwhile to point out that slaughter is the act of killing the animal, and butchering is the act of processing the carcass. While slaughter is done while the animal is alive, butchering is not. At least, not in a federal or state inspected facility. It is highly sensational for animal activists to claim this occurs regularly, and I admit that we've all seen some of the real videos of animals being abused at farms and slaughter facilities. However, it just isn't the norm, but it sure draws attention to their causes.
Please look up Temple Grandin. She has done tremendous, independent work in helping the slaughter industries develop their humane handling programs in compliance with the federal government regulations (no electric cattle prods, transportation safety, etc.). And, in case anyone is wondering, the only reason I left the Agency is that I got engaged to be married and there were no openings in the state where I was moving. I'm glad I had the opportunity to work with the Agency and the industry.
- Tad DubiousLv 74 years ago
Boris, I think part of the reason SOME people think this is because they heard it from someone else; that is how we get most of our beliefs. Some may have watched that episode of "Survivor" where contestants drank the blood of a cow; clearly, some folk do not use the bolt to the head like meat producers do, especially if the gun is not available to them and/or for traditional reasons. Then, there is the criminal element of PETA, which tells lies, bends truths, vandalizes and robs businesses, all in the name - they claim - of animal rights. Most of PETA is fine, but their criminal element should get far more severe punishment and publishing of same. Another reason is, most folk do not want to see how a steak gets from the hoof to the plate; I have seen it many times, and I have no problem with how it is done. I am just saying most people don't want to see it.
- Anonymous4 years ago
Sometimes as you have pointed out, the animal will continue to have muscle spasms after death. Someone who doesn't know any better will see that in a propaganda video and believe it to be true that the animal is still alive. Because I'm sure the ones who put these videos want people to believe it.
- Anonymous4 years ago
It's mainly propaganda brought forth by the vegan and vegetarian parties. Because uneducated people will believe in anything. It's sad that many people can be manipulated by silly things like that instead of educating themselves.
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- jamesLv 74 years ago
Hogs, pigs, goats are grabbed by the legs. Turned upside down &stuck threw the chest & into the heart to bleed out into a pan. The blood is used in some dish's here. Pigs,hogs then have boiling water poured on then & the hair scrapped off. You then open the belly. reach in & grab the intestian at the anal. Pinch it off. reach in with your short knife & cut it pulling it to the outside. You now finish opening the animal to remove all & separate. Lungs, liver & such. Intestine is uses once cleaned in some dish's also. Now you cut up the meat. Hide on a hog may be left on or trimed off & cooked. Much of the fat removed to make lard. Or left on For the woman of the home to finish cutting in pieces she wants for her table. It is best to chill meat to make it firm to do this. You may also soak it in light salt water to remove more blood. Some is ground as burger. Stew meat in chunks, bones scraped then boiled down to add to broths. A hole head or such my be thrown in the soup pot. Water Buffalo are to heavy to do this with. Are best took in to be butchered & a bit mean when you stab them. But has been done here. So in a way they are. But this is 3rd world. We can butcher at home out in the yard still. Little goes to waste here. Maybe those are were it comes from photo's of how we butcher here. Some get hurt butchering kicked stomped or cut. It is not easy here like America.
- Dion JLv 74 years ago
The idea of cattle being butchered alive is horrifying, and promotes the vegan agenda.
People in general prefer to believe things that are horrifying and promote their agenda, much more than they prefer to believe facts.
- 4 years ago
With the definition of butcher being "To slaughter and cut up for food" the cow has to be alive to be butchered. You can't slaughter something that has already been slaughtered. It's still wrong to take the life of someone who didn't want to die regardless.
- M'aiq The liarLv 74 years ago
I've never heard of any vegan claiming animals get butchered while still alive. x,X
I've certainly heard of some animals being boiled alive (as part of a process to get the hair and feathers off) but never actually butchered. At least not in the USA or in any western nation that I know of. I know in certain cultures, suffering makes the meat better so they might butcher a creature while it's still alive. But I know of nothing specific..
While I'm sure 99% of the time, there are no screw ups in slaughtering (aside from the fact that slaughtering is inherently screwed up), if you do the math even that small percentage is significant. If 50 billion animals are killed each year to feed humans and other animals (which is probably an understatement) that's still five hundred MILLION botched jobs, where the animal experiences significant stress.
And I'd like to see the study that says "stress ruins meat". I think that's probably BS. As much BS as the Chinese saying that stress makes meat better. Especially considering delicacies like veal or foie gras, where suffering is inherent in the process. Why does force feeding not ruin the meat? Why do confined conditions not ruin the meat? These undoubtedly cause stress in any bird or mammal. Since when does stress ruin anything..?
- LouisLv 74 years ago
I'm a vegan. and i don't believe cattle are bothered alive. I KNOW that in most cases the animal is stunned and then has its throat slit. I don't know much about it but I believe that is not the case in kosher and halal beef. but i really couldn't tell you what happens there.
I also agree with meat eaters on this. what happens to an animal during its last 3 minutes of life is somewhat insignificant in the big picture. and unlike many people i don't see humane treatment of an animal during its life a mitigating factor. For me, and I am not the only vegan who feels this way, the ONLY issue is that the animal is killed. To me it doesn't matter how the animal lived until its death or what it experienced in its last 3 minutes of life. Just killing an animal because we can and we want to is wrong.
In my opinion, the treatment the animal receives in life and/or death is just a distraction. "Humane slaughter" is an oxymoron.