National campaigning group Animal Aid has today released footage taken secretly at three randomly chosen abattoirs, which offers an unprecedented close-up of the true inner workings of typical British slaughterhouses.... that kill pigs, sheep and cattle. The film convincingly disposes of the myth of stress- and pain-free ‘humane slaughter’. The 40 hours of footage shows more than 1,500 animals being stunned and more than 1,000 being killed. Animal Aid anticipates the revelations will provoke a plain-speaking debate involving consumers, politicians, regulators and the industry.
Pigs and sheep are seen being kicked, shoved and – in one case – dragged into the stun room, which was packed with frightened animals. In the chaos, animals slip, fall and cry out. The electric tongs used to stun pigs and sheep frequently make contact for too short a time or do not span the brain, and deliver, instead, nothing more than painful electric shocks. Often, the suffering inflicted, the terror experienced and the indifference of the stun operator are shockingly apparent.
Animal Aid filmed:
Pigs and sheep going to the knife without adequate stunning
Pigs and sheep stunned and then allowed to come round again
Pigs, sheep and calves crying out and struggling to escape
Pigs being kicked in the face and sheep thrown to the floor
Pigs and sheep with illness or injury being slaughtered
A sheep too sick to stand – or possibly already dead – being brought to slaughter in a wheelbarrow
A ewe being stunned and killed while her young was suckling her
Ewes watching as their young are killed
Pigs falling from the slaughter line into the blood pit and being dragged out and re-shackled while other pigs look on
An inadequately stunned young calf lying kicking on the floor and the stun operator standing on him to keep him still
Kate Fowler, Head of Campaigns at Animal Aid, says:
‘We believe that millions of animals across the country are suffering untold torment when they are stunned and killed. In the stun rooms, we filmed terrified sheep and pigs running crazily in circles, looking for an exit or trying to make themselves invisible behind the hoist. Two sheep were so desperate to escape that they leapt through the hatch into the slaughter area where they landed in the blood pit below their bleeding and shackled mates. Many animals were partially stunned and left writhing or convulsing on the floor, while the stun operator ignored their plight. Animals were kicked, hit, goaded, sworn at and stood on. In our view, one worker in particular combined incompetence, stupidity and callousness. But even those workers who function as best they can, operate in a system that is pitiless.
‘The film we obtained shows scenes from hell and disposes of the myth that slaughter in the UK is, or can ever be, humane.’
Health care reform seems a long way from climate change but they share something very important in common: well funded interest groups that want to keep things just the way they are.
For instance, the Manhattan Institute has been railing against proposed health care reform, churning out adizzying number of reports and op-eds about why “Obama-care” is wrong for America. They also expend abundant effort slagging climate science, last year feting Danish doubter Bjorn Lomborg. The Manhattan Institute has so far received $235,000 from ExxonMobil, as well as funding from various other conservative organizations.
The Media Research Center is conservative media watchdog that has received $257,500 from ExxonMobil, and regularly gripes about biased the US media is towards the “theory” of climate change and the health care reform.
Other groups working hard to derail Obama's efforts to improve the medical system include the notorious Heartland Institute. Desmog Blog readers will remember their remarkably unethical efforts to associate unwitting climate researchers with their propaganda campaign against climate science.
Mr. Ferrara is truly a multi-talented researcher. Not only is he apparently an expert on health care and medical policy, he has also spilled buckets of ink hectoring the scientific communityfor their slap dash research on climate change.
Just this spring Ferrara was holding forth in the national press that the “UN’s global warming reports involve shoddy science skewed to favor the theory of man-made global warming…despite growing evidence from first-rate, blue chip scientists who are increasingly concluding that humans have little effect on global temperatures…”
Who knew that one man could know so much? It's amazing what they teach you in law school...
So why are the same groups that oppose reducing carbon emissions also fighting against health care reform? Perhaps the best explanation is that great unifier, money.
An interesting case study is the anti-health care reform front group Conservatives for Patients Rights was founded by Richard L. Scott, a man who has a rather vested interest in keeping US health care in private hands.
In 1988, Scott co-founded the Columbia Hospital Corporation (Columbia/HCA). He and his business partners aimed to transform US health care by “doing for hospitals . . .what McDonald’s has done in the food business and what WalMart has done in the retailing business.”
Scott apparently intended to own 25% of the nation’s hospitals and predicted that rash of closures might clear the field of unprofitable ““teaching hospitals and children’s hospitals” – increasing market share for Columbia/HCA.
This fixation on the profit motive was illustrated in 1995 when one quarter of Columbia’s administrators were earning bonuses equaling at least 80 percent of their salaries.
Scott apparently wondered out loud, “Do we have an obligation to provide health care for everybody? Where do we draw the line? Is any fast-food restaurant obliged to feed everyone who shows up?”
By 1997, Columbia/HCA was the largest health care provider in the world with annualrevenues of $23 billion.
That July, they were also raided by the FBI in five states and later convicted of fourteen felony charges relating to Medicare fraud and doctor kickback schemes. Columbia/HCA eventually paid $1.7 billion in fines – the highest in US history at the time. Three HCA executives were indicted, and Scott was ousted as CEO by the board of directors – with a $10 million severance package and more than $300 million in stock.
Since then he formed an investment company, Richard L. Scott Investments, with a thick portfolio of private health care ventures. In 2001, Scott also co-founded Solantic, a chain of medical clinics that this year raised $40 million in private equity.
Scott has ambitious plans for Solantic to become a national brand of emergency medical clinics with 35 clinics open by the end of the year with $100 million in annual revenues, and potentially “a thousand locations”.
Fast-forward to 2009 when one month after Obama was sworn in, Scott foundedConservatives for Patients Rights with $5 million of his own money and $15 million more from undisclosed sources. According to the WSJ, this campaign was aimed to “pressure Democrats to enact health-care legislation based on free-market principles.”
So what do the voices shrilly opposing health care and energy reform have in common? Money. Both stand to lose big if Obama succeeds in enacting the agenda the American people elected him to do.
Keep that in mind the next time you see an expensive ad telling you to fear efforts to make our health care more accessible, or our energy more sustainable.