This week the American Meat Institute (AMI) released a video tour of a pork slaughter plant hosted by leading animal welfare expert Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University. The video is available on the AHI’s Web site dedicated to animal welfare, http://www.animalhandling.org/ .
I’ve been in a number of slaughter plants over the years, and I wasn’t sure if viewers would be able to handle the “true transparency” that was depicted. However, after spending the 17 minutes and 48 seconds viewing the nicely done video, I felt it was an accurate, look at the path those (recently re-named ) pork chops take to the meat case. The pork video tour starts on the farm in a finishing barn, depicts pig loading on trailers, unloading at the plant, stunning of pigs to make them insensible to pain (required by law), the bleeding process, carcass chilling and fabrication of carcasses into the pork cuts offered to consumers. The video details the widespread use of the AMI animal welfare audit, developed by Grandin for the industry in 1997, which now serves as a global standard. Throughout the video, Grandin emphasizes the importance of keeping pigs calm through proper handling.
AMI announced in a press release that a companion brochure could be downloaded from AnimalHandling.org . The brochure also includes a series of commonly asked questions about animal welfare with answers provided by Grandin. Single copies of the video also are available upon request from the AMI.
The pork plant video tour and brochure follow a beef plant video tour, also hosted by Grandin, which was released in August 2012. Since its release, the beef plant video has been viewed nearly 50,000 times on line and in countless classrooms and other settings.
“I’m really pleased the American Meat Institute is working on putting these videos out because I think we need to show people what’s done in the industry when it’s just done right in a typical large plant,” Grandin explains.
“We recognize that many consumers want more information about how livestock are handled and processed in U.S. meat and poultry plants. Our Glass Walls Project is an effort to increase transparency,” explains AMI Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Member Services Janet Riley, who also serves as liaison to the Institute’s Animal Welfare Committee. “We were fortunate that Dr. Grandin, a leading expert on animal handling and welfare in meat plants, agreed to host the video tours and played such a pivotal role in their production. We are proud to offer an honest look inside our plants and to show the public our long-standing commitment to ensuring optimal livestock welfare.”
I would not hesitate to recommend this video to my suburban neighbors. Have you viewed the video yet? What do you think? Share your thoughts in the “Comments” section below or email [email protected]  to express your opinion.
To view the videos or download the brochures, visit http://www.animalhandling.org/ , or request a hard copy of the brochure by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to AMI Glass Walls Project, 1150 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC, 20036.
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