I have no words

I’m sorry, I usually don’t post stuff like this, but I’m in tears right now. Can you read this and still not care where your food comes from? Or remain blissfully unaware?

AP Exclusive: Video shows workers abusing pigs (By FREDERIC J. FROMMER, Associated Press Writer, via Yahoo! News)

33 thoughts on “I have no words

  1. Carishma says:

    That’s truly awful. I was a vegetarian for 11 years for this very reason. I’ve started eating meat since we moved to an ag town – I know exactly where it comes from. I’m still mostly a vegetarian!

  2. I couldn’t even finish the article let alone watch the video. I am not a vegetarian but seeing anyone abuse an animal even if they are bred for consumption breaks my heart. I don’t understand how people can be so cruel. I guess I am one of those people who hope when they are eating meat that it was treated properly but never really know for sure. I will definitely make a better effort to find out.

  3. clamme says:

    It seems endemic to factory farms. I only eat small-farm meat (where I know they are treated well), for this reason. I think that’s a good way to get the big farms to change. I hope?

  4. i read the article but could not bear to even think about watching the video. thanks for the reminder. my friends may find me turning back to vegetarianism sooner than they’d like!

  5. Suzanne says:

    I could not even watch the whole video and the images are all I keep coming back to today, just horrific. Thanks for the eye opener and reminder of what can and does go on.

  6. Julie says:

    Oh, Terrible!! I went on to the Hormel Foods website and left a mean comment for them. I think that as uncomfortable as it may be, we need to get the word out about these situations.

    p.s. Also glad to be a vegetarian….

  7. While I hated reading that story, I’m glad you posted it, if only to increase awareness of what is going on in factories. So sad what is happening to these animals and also sad to think of what could possibly have happened to a human being that would make them do such things to another living creature. Hopefully more will be done on a larger scale to stop this. I will definitely change my buying habits.

  8. This is so sad! I can not understand why anyone would be that angry? to treat anyone or anything that way. I am not a vegetarian, but all of our meat comes from a local organic farmer. We have it butchered by a friend and can be there from beginning to end. I choose not to watch the pig and cow get slaughtered but am assured that they do it in the most humane way possible. It is still slightly disturbing but at least I know that they are well treated and fed while they are alive. Stories like that really do make you take pause though.

  9. Kosher Karyn says:

    This is a horrible situation, not just in this factory, but certainly it is being repeated in every venue where people feel they are entitled to abuse either animals or people. It has to stop. God has given us in the Bible, specific directions on animal slaughter. We have come so far away from His teachings. There is no longer respect for life, be it animal or human. Unborn children are also being slaughtered in their mothers wombs. I respect life. Choose life.

  10. This breaks my heart. I can’t believe how cruel some people are. I could only read part of the article. In my area we don’t have a lot of options for buying meat. If meat is listed as “organic” does that generally mean that it’s from a place that treats animals better? I’m not sure how to tell.

  11. Honestly, I am too chicken (…) to watch the video. I don’t want pictures in my head I can never forget. I rarely eat pork because the organic pork I buy is so expensive and I have a budget. Sort of.

    Tracy’s is a good question though: Organic pork does not imply better treatment, it speaks feed and accommodation, no? It does not, of itself, imply that animals will never be treated badly.

    That said, if you do know your actual producer, farmer, you are on your way. But it’s very difficult for most people. New Yorkers, for example, are lucky, with farmers’ markets and local producers nearby. But they still need the ready cash.

    I am a vegetarian in principle which means I am a carnivore (well, omnivore) at heart. 😦

    Vegetarians are right: we do not need to eat animals. But I am too selfish and fond of their delicious parts to stop…

  12. … it’s just absolutely fucking horrible. Too much.

    But I’m hopeful that things are changing. All one can do is promote ethical meat eating (if you eat meat) on your blogs, in your kitchen, and to everyone you know. It’s a small thing but if everyone does it….

  13. Debbie says:

    This is awful. I will NEVER eat another Hormel product. I will try to eat meat of any kind that is raised by small farmers. It just shows that big business cares nothing about humane treatment, just the money that can be put in their pockets.

  14. To be honest I didn’t watch the video. I can’t stand abuse, it sickens me. No more Hormel products in this household. We are not much on meat anyway. Thanks for making more people aware.

  15. Jennifer Hess says:

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments.

    Louise, no, I wouldn’t. We do eat and enjoy a variety of animal products, but we also don’t cook meat from factory farms. The meat we buy is from purveyors we know and trust, and we will continue to support them.

    I have absolutely no issue with those who choose a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle for themselves. I was a vegetarian for years, and my husband has been for periods of his life as well. We eat plenty of non-animal products but personally, I think eating a variety of foods which are sustainably raised is the best option. (I talked about this in more depth here.)

    The fact of the matter is, people are going to eat meat whether you like it or not. It’s vitally important for us to support the farmers who are raising their animals in an ethical, sustainable and humane way.

  16. Colleen says:

    Jen – My sentiments exactly. Pointing out that you eat meat doesn’t change anything nor facilitate a humane & ethical farming method for animals across the world. Speaking of – there was an excellent article in Gourmet mag a few months ago about 2 fellas that go to a halal butcher and watch the goat they choose receive prayer and then be slaughtered. They were more connected to the food they put in their body than ever before. Hey – you are what you eat.

  17. Colleen says:

    It’s called “Visiting a Halal Butcher in New York” in July’s Gourmet. I tried to get a link and faaaaailed.

    PS. I just reread those comments and got incensed.

  18. Louise says:

    why are you incensed? because someone disagrees with you?
    I just think it’s important to examine our overly privileged lifestyle that tries so desperately to draw distinctions between different kinds of practices. Yes, I don’t think the animals should be treated that way either, of course, but have you ever thought about the pressure those workers are under? I’m not justifying their behaviour, I’m simply suggesting that we look at the larger picture. Many of the people working those jobs are in extremely vulnerable positions and working overtime to support their families. Most are immigrants working WAY BELOW their human potential. They cannot afford to go to a farmer’s market every week and spend the amount of money that many people do to buy “ethically-raised meat” and then photograph. How do we speak to these issues?

  19. Jen, thank you for posting that video. It is from reading your blog that my eyes were widened toward the issue of how animals were treated, and now my awareness is heightened even further. I am thinking that for the future it will be worth it to eat smaller quantities of higher quality meat. That video is burning in my brain. I can’t get those images to go away, and I think that’s a good thing!

  20. Traci says:

    At least these people are getting caught and being punished. It’s so heartbreaking to see or hear of animal abuse. The world is full of tragedy, always has been, always will be. AWARENESS IS THE BEST PREVENTION THOUGH – and as difficult as it is to see, it will eventually help to prevent it in the future. These businesses will, in most cases, go OUT of business if caught in a scandal like this, so the more attention it gets, the worse the consequences for the offenders.

    Some people are just lacking the sympathy gene. And it seems that bad influences rub off on other employees. And it’s not because they are working overtime, Louise. Anyone who could hurt a helpless person or animal is just plain evil.

    Also, Louise, there is nothing wrong with eating meat or supporting local farmers. And probably 99% of what is in our markets comes from ethical farms. If you are a vegan, then great. But don’t tell others what we should or should not do — because you’re not the boss of us.

  21. Louise says:

    I’m not a vegan actually. But I’m not sitting on a high horse either, taking a bite out of its ass at the same time and then crying about it. Hypocrisy rules. Ever heard of liberal middle class guilt? It’s called talking the big talk of change but then refusing to give up any of your privileges.

    Jen – Why you haven’t you responded? I’m not saying anything atrocious, rather bringing up a new angle.

  22. Jennifer Hess says:

    Hi Louise – I have responded above, not really sure what else you want me personally to address or respond to? I think I’ve been pretty open about our circumstances, our feelings on what and how we eat and why, but if you would like a more in-depth response I’ll try to answer promptly, but I am in the midst of a string of long workdays, so there may be a bit of a delay.

  23. Louise, thou doth protest too much. And no one knows what you are doing – whether or not you are sitting on a high horse and biting its ass or not – because you have not shown anyone anything about yourself. Coward, maybe?

  24. dietsch says:


    You’re talking smack. Your words, your ideas are so vague that it’s hard to even know how you want us to reply. Anything we say, I feel, is going to brand us “hypocrite” in your eyes.

    You say we eat “atrocious” amounts of meat. I don’t know what “atrocious” means, because it’s a weasel word that means only what you want it to mean. Here’s my proof: “I’m not saying anything atrocious”. It’s a word you drop at random when you don’t have anything else to say.

    I haven’t eaten any meat today, unless you count seafood. In that case, I had a tin of sardines. That’s the only animal flesh I’ve eaten today. Oh, but I eat “atrocious” amounts of meat, and you’re not saying anything “atrocious” in pointing that out.

    But we don’t owe you a blow by blow account of everything we eat. This is Last Night’s Dinner, not Last Night’s Dinner, Yesterday’s Lunch, and Yesterday’s Breakfast.

    “Ever heard of liberal middle class guilt?”

    How can you say that at the very same time you’re pretending not to sit on a high horse? You are judging us, whether you want to admit that to yourself or not.

    If you don’t like the way we eat, I shouldn’t need to show you the door. Please just don’t let it hit you in your high-minded ass on the way out.

  25. louise says:

    why is it that you can’t handle any criticism? you can’t look critically at your life style as portrayed on these pages? how sad for you.

  26. Jennifer Hess says:

    Louise, you haven’t given me any reason to take your “criticism” to heart. I don’t know anything about you – you’ve said nothing about your diet, your lifestyle, or what you do to make the world a better place. I put myself out here, and I can certainly take criticism, but until you give me a good reason why I should feel you are in a position to judge me and the way I cook and eat, I have no response to you other than what I’ve already said.

    I’m not really sure why you’ve decided to come in here and raise a stink without saying anything valid, or providing any thoughtful commentary, but as my husband said, don’t feel like you need to stick around if what I’m doing here is so offensive to you.

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