Recalling a Life
by Joy Gomez, head caretaker at Safe Haven
Over 9 billion land animals are slaughtered in the United States each year for human consumption (90 billion, plus trillions of aquatic animals, globally). Some accept this practice as a necessary part of supplying the human diet.
What of those killed for naught? In 2018 tons of animal “products” including meat, eggs and dairy were recalled for a wide range of serious concerns including bacteria and viruses (salmonella, e.coli, staphylococcal, listeria, and hepatitis E) and also for extraneous materials such as glass, metal, plastic and rubber found in the final processed “products”. Some of these “products” were recalled because allergens (milk, soy, wheat, nuts) were found to be in or in close proximity to the processing of the animals. In some cases, a wrongly placed label or lack of proper inspection led to a recall – all of this leading to the ultimate squandering of millions of animals lives.
In one specific case opened in October 2018 involving an animal processing company, JBS Tolleson, a staggering 12 million plus pounds of beef were recalled due to a possible salmonella contamination. This recall resulted in approximately 27,000 cows born who in the end died for no reason at all. That’s just one recall. Another case was opened in November 2018 when popular brand Jennie-O recalled almost 312,000 pounds of ground turkey. This is well over 20,000 turkeys, considering that turkey heads, legs and gizzards are not deliberately part of the ground up result. The strains of salmonella in both these recalls do sometimes kill humans.
Some recall cases involve an “undetermined” poundage of animals – in other words, companies don’t even know how much of the “product” has been contaminated. Nevertheless, in 2018, we know for sure over 20 million pounds of animal meat “products” were recalled – animals such as cows, pigs and chickens (commonly known as beef, pork and poultry) – all inhumanely slaughtered and ultimately tossed in a landfill somewhere.
Of the 20 million plus pounds, 17 plus million pounds are still considered open cases. 3.5 million pounds are in the closed case category – however, it must be noted that 2.7 million pounds of unsafe “product” within these closed cases are left unrecovered in the public domain (simply put, they close cases without fully collecting all the bad “merchandise”).
From January to March of this year, approximately 1.3 million pounds of a variety of animal meat “products” have been recalled and only 150,000 pounds have been recovered.
One might ask “What about vegetable products that have been recalled?” Keep in mind that the animals who died for nothing had beating hearts, deeply breathing lungs and eyes whose only field of vision throughout their shortened lives were that of cages, agony and abuse – only to end up as literal “wasted” life. Have you heard the saying “Peace begins on your plate”? While we may not be able to control everything that is going on in the world we can control what is on our plate. Remember – knowledge, compassion and empathy can change the world.