Conscious Living

27 February 08 | Posted in Food, Stewardship, U.S. Catholic

environment_01.jpgSisters across North America are conducting energy audits of their buildings and renovating them using earth-friendly standards, purchasing recycled paper products and nontoxic cleaning products, chosing hybrid cars for their fleets, sod-busting their land to restore native wetland or prairie, and supporting sustainable agriculture by choosing organic or locally sourced food over standard grocery fare.

“As Al Gore would say, it is a moral issue to reduce our carbon footprint today,” said Sr. Corinne Wright, environmental initatives  manager for the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, whose Aston, PA, complex including a 150-year-old motherhouse and Red Hill Farm, runs on clean energy. “It is a choice that is somewhat more expensive. We are sacrificing in other ways so we make less of a footprint..I guess it boils down to conscious living.”

The Jungle – Redux

20 February 08 | Posted in Food

I saw a sickening video on the news the other day. It showed dairy cows-some sick, some dying, and some trying to crawl with what looked like broken legs-prodded and beaten by workers at a slaughterhouse trying to get them up and moving to be butchered. The video was shot by an undercover investigator this past fall, and released a few days ago by the Humane Society.

See the video – WARNING – you won’t look at the freshly wrapped beef in the supermarket the same way again.

Where were the U.S. Department of Agriculture agents and inspectors that are supposed to be on watch at these places?  This abuse couldn’t have been missed!

The video shows Hallmark Meat Packing Co. workers administering repeated electric shocks to “downed cows”–animals that are too sick, weak or otherwise unable to stand on their own. Workers are seen kicking cows in the face, jabbing them near their eyes, ramming them with a forklift and shooting high-intensity water up their noses in an effort to force them to their feet for slaughter.humane-cow.jpg

This animal abuse video led to the largest recall of beef-143 million pounds-by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. But 37 million pounds had already gone to schools, and officials fear it has been eaten by children.

Hallmark Meat Packing Co., based in Chino, CA, sells beef to its sister company, Westlake Meat, which distributes it to various federal programs, including the National School Lunch Program.

Downed cows are more easily contaminated and may carry harmful diseases. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture regulations prohibit allowing disabled or contaminated animals into the food supply.

“This should serve as a five-alarm call to action for Congress and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture,” said Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society president. “Our government simply must act quickly both to guarantee the most basic level of humane treatment for farm animals and to protect America’s most vulnerable people–our children, needy families and the elderly–from potentially dangerous food.”

Westland Meat Packing Co. issued a statement saying the two workers caught on video abusing the cows had been fired, and their supervisor suspended. It didn’t say anything about what happened to the meat.