Why Slaughterhouse Workers Were Outraged After Witnessing Police Gun Down One Runaway Cow

Written by

Today on KCRW’s To the Point, host Warren Olney led a discussion on so-called “Ag Gag” laws in America. Thus far, Iowa, Missouri and Utah have enacted these laws which prohibit undercover videotape that reveals cruelty to animals on factory farms. According to the New York Times, both Indiana and Tennessee are expected to vote on similar measures in the coming weeks.

Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight”, was one of the guests on today’s program. He spent six months working undercover in a meat processing plant and recalls one experience during a lunch break when six cows were accidentally let loose from the slaughterhouse. When efforts to herd one cow back to the kill floor were unsuccessful, police officers opened fire on the cow, killing her with a shot gun in front of Pachirat and his colleagues.

The workers were outraged. One employee compared the shooting of the cow to a shooting of an illegal immigrant the year before. After expressing their disgust, Pachirat and his colleagues returned to work and disassembled more than 1,000 steer before leaving for the day.

Stay tuned for a longer discussion between Pachirat and Good Food’s Evan Kleiman in the coming weeks.