Where’s the Beef?
It’s the classic shell game…
Back on February 7, 2008 we posted on the Humane Society of the United States’ (H$U$) undercover investigation of the Hallmark Meat Packing Facility. We noted that H$U$ waited four months to make the video tape of the abused cattle public and wondered if they might have ulterior motives.
Looks like we aren’t the only ones who were suspicious.
According to the Centre Daily Times, on February 28, 2008, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office told the Riverside (California) Press-Enterprise that it had never asked the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to withhold the undercover slaughterhouse video from the public or from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This refutes sworn Congressional testimony offered on Tuesday by HSUS Public Health Director Dr. Michael Greger.
The article states:
The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), a food-issues watchdog group, said today that HSUS’s decision to withhold its video from federal authorities and the public increased the possible public-health risk from potentially contaminated beef used in federal school lunch programs. This morning CCF asked the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to review Dr. Greger’s testimony and investigate whether he committed perjury.
During a hearing before the Subcommittee, Dr. Greger was asked directly why HSUS delayed sharing the video, (shot in October and November of 2007), with the U.S. Department of Agriculture until the end of January of 2008. Greger reportedly answered that “We gave this evidence over to the local District Attorney’s office, the San Bernardino County District Attorney, and they asked us not to publicly release this information, to hold off so they could carry out their own criminal investigation into the animal cruelty that was witnessed. We complied with that request.”
When further pressed on the question by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), Greger stated that “They told us to wait on any kind of public release of this information … They asked us to hold on to the information while they completed their investigation.”
The Centre Daily Times also reports that:
“San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney Deborah Ploghaus, the lead investigator on the case, said she never made such a request. On Wednesday, Humane Society President Wayne Pacelle backed off Greger’s statement, saying he was uncertain if the prosecutors specifically asked to keep the footage out of public view.”
Just what exactly was HSUS uncertain about? If the group had evidence in October 2007 that potentially unsafe meat was entering the U.S. food chain (including the federal school lunch program), why did the animal rights group sit on this highly inflammatory footage for over three months?
According to the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) Director of Research David Martosko. “HSUS was clearly more interested in maximizing the political impact of its slaughterhouse video than in protecting ordinary people. And lying to Congress to cover up its apathy toward public health is truly despicable.
“When the San Bernardino County Assistant District Attorney Dennis Christy was contacted by CCF, he stated:
I can say unequivocally that we never suggested in any way – in fact, we encouraged the HSUS to cooperate with, provide information to the U.S. Department of Agriculture … [and] we had some difficulty in preparing criminal charges, because of delays in setting up any interview with the Humane Society investigator at which USDA officers would be present.
Christy further added that his office’s criminal investigation had been hampered, in part, by HSUS’s desire to keep the USDA out of the loop: “We had some difficulty in preparing criminal charges, because of delays in setting up any interview with the Humane Society investigator at which USDA officers would be present.“
Because of HSUS’s preference for sensationalism over protecting the public’s health, millions of Americans (including countless children) may have been exposed to meat that wasn’t fit for human consumption.
Apparently human children aren’t the sort of animals HSUS is interested in protecting.