Get a whiff of this: The big stink that rural folks have been making over giant factory farms has suddenly wafted into our own sweet suburbs. The cows have finally come home.
Some of those poor cows have ended up in ground beef packages at our local school districts. Lindbergh and Kirkwood were among the St. Louis area districts which were warned about tainted beef that may have been sold to their food services.
Fortunately, a food supply check revealed that Lindbergh and Kirkwood did not have the lot numbers of questionable beef. Other schools, locally and across the country, including Ladue, were not so lucky.
Estimates of the amount of tainted beef actually eaten in school cafeterias range as high as 20 million pounds.
Almost 50 million pounds of beef, recalled because of failure to cull out crippled and sick cows, were distributed to schools nationwide. U.S. agricultural officials issued the recall after a Humane Society investigation.
Employees of meat giant Westland-Hallmark Co. were discovered to be shoving sick and crippled cows into queue for the slaughter. Injured cows were forced to stand with electric prods and water hoses. TV networks aired scenes of injured cows being shoved to slaughter by
For several years now, our country cousins in rural Missouri have been warning us about the loss of family farms to factory farms and giant agribusinesses such as California’s Westland-Hallmark.
Our outstate friends have been complaining about stinking CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) ruining the atmosphere at our state parks. They have banded together in Citizens to Protect State Parks and Historic Sites (CPSPHS).
Animal waste reservoirs on giant farm operations have a history of being poorly maintained and even breaching – pouring filth into creeks and streams. Members of CPSPHS argue that the odor from the CAFO’s swine manure is not merely a nuisance, but a real respiratory health
hazard involving harmful chemicals.
Now we find stinky air and polluted streams aren’t the half of it. The other half of the story is the vulnerability of our food supply at giant farms and processing plants.
“When you put 3,000 cows in a giant meat grinder, good things do not come out the other end,” said Kat Logan, executive director of Missouri Coalition for the Environment.
“It doesn’t take a whole lot of pathogens to taint a huge amount of meat when it is processed that way,” said Logan. “It doesn’t take a lot of sick cows in a mass slaughter like that, to make a lot of people very sick. That accounts for this huge recall.”
Logan’s environmental group will sponsor a panel on “The Battle for Control Over What We Eat” at the Schlafly Tap Room at 21st and Locust in St. Louis, 3 p.m., Sunday, March 2.
She said it will be a good meeting to find out what you can do to fight for safer food. Why not drop by for a beer? Think twice before ordering a burger.