animal cruelty, animal welfare, animal protection, public health, USDA, states rights, regulations, federal government

Document Type



In 2008, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released an undercover video filmed at the Hallmark Meat Packing Company and Westland Meat Company (Hallmark/Westland) in Chino, California. "The footage depicted nonambulatory cows being kicked, dragged, electrocuted, jammed with forklifts and sprayed in the nostrils with water to simulate drowning - in an effort to get them to stand up and walk to their slaughter." At least five inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - the federal agency tasked with ensuring that food safety and animal welfare guidelines are followed - were present at the time. The video led to the shutdown of the plant and the largest meat recall in United States (US) history. It also led to increased awareness about the reality of our food supply. Americans were particularly outraged to learn that not only were animals too sick or injured to walk on their own being violently abused, but the facility involved was the second largest producer of beef for government food programs, including the national school lunch program, and programs for senior citizens and low-income families. Moreover, Westland had received the USDA award for supplier of the year in 2004-05.