There has been much written about the state of the slaughterhouse over the past hundred years, with books like The Jungle blazing an enlightening trail, and the much more modern Fast Food Nation highlighting the current day’s terrible and incredibly dangerous working conditions and questionable sanitary conditions.
It is quite rare to actually see the interior of a working slaughterhouse, though, and a new video has come from the most unlikely of sources: Oprah.com.
However, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this video’s investigative qualities are basically nonexistent, and the tone is as dry as a bone. The whole functioning of the operation, the animal’s quality of life, and the working conditions are all very glossed over. You didn’t think Cargill would let cameras into their facilities without tight control over the content, did you?
Either way, this video is still worth a look, if not only because the content is so rare to see. Even in this tame video, the footage is shocking and hard to fathom. It’s probably safe to say this is hardly representative of most slaughterhouse conditions, however. Let your imagination take you there, because there certainly won’t be any TV cameras to guide you into the ugly underbelly of the typical and deathly dangerous, violent and blood-soaked slaughterhouse.
Also, one has to wonder: does the release of this video have anything to do with Cargill trying to recover from the bad publicity of having to recall a million pounds of tainted beef in 2009?
And lastly, a random note: the text on Cargill’s sign says “meat solutions” — if that doesn’t sound like industrial agriculture lingo at its worst, I don’t know what does….