Forum, Feb. 3: A Slaughterhouse of Horrors

Friday, February 02, 2018
A Slaughterhouse of Horrors

Once again, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has suspended operations at Vermont’s largest packinghouse for inhumane treatment of animals (“Vermont Slaughterhouse Sanctioned by USDA,” Jan. 27). On Jan. 22, a sheep at Vermont Packinghouse in North Springfield, Vt., was “mis-stunned.” Animals are required to be stunned before slaughter so they are “rendered insensitive to pain or stimuli” before they are shackled, bled and dismembered.

This is only the company’s most recent violation of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act: USDA records show 15 noncompliance violations during its three years of operation, including four violations during a six-month period last year, for failure to properly stun animals prior to slaughter. The Animal Welfare Institute of Washington, D.C., called for the USDA to permanently withdraw its inspection service for the slaughter plant due to the repeated suspensions and the egregious nature of the violations. The institute asserts that it is rare for a facility of this size to receive so many violations in such a short period of time.

Now it’s clear that the company continues to abuse livestock despite its claims that it’s taken “corrective actions.” The owner of the facility pointed out that the animal mis-stunned was a sheep, and they normally slaughter pigs and cows. This is an outrageous excuse since the facility accepts sheep for processing and claims to slaughter all animals with “respect and dignity.” But meat industry spokesperson Janet Riley of the North American Meat Institute said she believes the USDA requirement of perfect stunning every time is unrealistic and “not achievable all the time.” That means a percentage of the 10 billion animals killed for food each year are still conscious when they are shackled, stabbed, skinned and dismembered in U.S. slaughter plants.

Perhaps the only solution to the problem of inhumane slaughter of food animals is to avoid eating them in the first place. Clearly the price of meat will never reflect the true cost to the animals that must endure the horrors of the slaughterhouse.

Lucy Goodrum

Reading, Vt.

Questions Remain in Shooting

I was just reading a story about the New Hampshire state trooper who shot and killed a man who apparently was fleeing from him (“Shooting Memorial Set Ablaze in Canaan,” Jan. 12). The one big question I did not see answered was: Where was he shot, in the front or in the back? It makes a huge difference.

And why is the man’s past so important? Is it in order to make the shooting justifiable? Hey, he was a criminal, so killing him no matter what is justified? Just curious.

By the way I just love New Hampshire and Vermont when we go there every few years, and not always in the autumn.

Ross Anderson

Las Vegas

Backing Vt. Gun Violence Bill

Thank you for reporting on the public hearing at the Vermont Statehouse on proposed gun control legislation (“Vt. Residents Pack Gun Law Meeting,” Feb. 1).

I attended this hearing. It was striking that the 21 people speaking in support of the legislation (most of them women) had either experienced violence or had worked with adults or children who had this experience.

The 25 people who spoke against the legislation (most of them men) said there is no problem in Vermont so there is no need to have any new laws.

The women are afraid of losing their lives. The men are afraid of losing their rights to shoot guns.

If you live in Vermont, and are in support of the gun violence protection bills that will give police the power to temporarily remove guns from households where they have been called for domestic abuse, please call the Sergeant at Arms at the Statehouse (802-828-2228) and leave a message of support.

Mary Chin


Support Your Local Businesses

The Sunday Valley News of Jan. 28 had three important stories. First, the Valley News announced that it is reducing the size of its Sunday edition because of “a decline in advertising and the gradual reduction in staffing.” Second, some stores and businesses are closing throughout the Upper Valley (“Norwich Square Cafe Closes, Hints at New Owner”). Third, an opinion piece, “Polls Say Americans Distrust Media, but It’s not That Simple,” by Margaret Sullivan, a Washington Post columnist.

I believe these are all related and are the result of changing attitudes about news and newspapers all over the country.

I moved here four years ago from the cornfields of Illinois, where I ran a multi-store retail business over 140 years old. What I see happening is the “change” in retailing that is happening through the country. Everyone should support locally owned retailers and their advertising partners.

Agree or disagree with news and opinions in the pages of the Valley News, I am thankful we have such a good newspaper on a daily basis. I value the local coverage of schools and town government, plus insight on national issues.

Jim Baum