There are times when I'm ashamed to be a member of the human race.
Operations were suspended at Central Valley Meat Co. in Hanford last week after a video shot by an undercover member of an animal welfare group, Compassion Over Killing, showed sick or lame cows being shocked, shot, beaten and kicked in attempt to prod them to slaughter. U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman Justin DeJong said before the USDA will consider allowing operations to resume, "the company must first submit a corrective action plan detailing how they intend to comply with humane handling regulations."
The USDA concluded the evaluation by its Food Safety and Inspection Service, and announced Monday the slaughterhouse was allowed to resume processing.
"The company has committed to a number of corrective actions including additional humane handling training for employees and safeguards to ensure that only ambulatory animals are processed," it said in a statement.
I certainly hope so. It is apalling to me that some people - and I use "people" very lightly - treat animals the way they do.
Animal abuse is rampant in our society, and it is not always as blatantly obvious as that which was caught on video last week.
When I'm driving home late at night, I drive past many dead animals caught under the wheels of passing cars. It is nearly as upsetting to me as seeing a human carcass.
To those who make honest attempts to avoid running animals over, I am not blaming you. Accidents happen, and sometimes they are unavoidable. To those who stop to help a stray dog or cat out of a busy street, I commend you.
To those who go out of their way to hit innocent animals - and I've seen it happen, and even heard some brag about it later - you should be ashamed of yourself, and I would urge you to seek professional help.
To those who won't be bothered to slow down or turn their steering wheel the smallest bit to save an innocent life, I hope the fraction of a second you saved for yourself is well-spent.
Let me remind those who need reminding that animals do not understand what roads are, and they do not understand that they shouldn't cross them. They don't look both ways before they cross the street, and they shouldn't be expected to any more than a toddler should.
It isn't Darwin at work or natural selection that crushes their small bodies and leaves them lying in pain if they aren't lucky enough to be killed instantly. It's your vehicle.
Chances are, it is a squirrel, or a possum, maybe a turtle that finds its way into traffic. That doesn't make it right. But just think: It could be someone's pet. What if it was your pet?
Please, watch out for animals - just as you do pedestrians - whenever you are behind the wheel.
It's your responsibility as a member of the human race to be humane, to all forms of life.