Myth: Undercover videos show abuse and are representative of the entire beef industry.
Fact: These videos represent abuses that are extremely disgraceful to a beef community that is fully committed to raising animals humanely and does not tolerate mistreatment of cattle.
Despite undercover videos showing footage of disturbing animal abuse, it is not a normal or acceptable occurrence. The beef industry does not condone any mishandling of livestock on the farm or ranch or in the packing facility. The actions depicted in these videos are disgraceful and not representative of the entire beef community. The vast majority of cattlemen adhere to the absolute best animal care and handling guidelines established by veterinarians and other experts. Whether on the ranch or at a processing facility, the entire beef industry strives to treat animals humanely because animals represent their life’s work and their livelihoods. Cattle farmers and ranchers know that giving animals the proper care, handling and nutrition they deserve is the right thing to do. We stand behind this principle with educational programs such as the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification program, which outlines the essential elements for cattle care on the farm.
The federal government also plays an important role in ensuring the humane treatment of animals. Every federally-inspected meat processing facility is staffed with a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector to ensure that workers are following the law. By law, every beef processing facility in the United States must follow humane handling procedures as outlined in the Humane Slaughter Act.
The beef community has never tolerated the mistreatment of animals. In 1996, the farmer and rancher code of conduct was put into writing to condemn the mistreatment of cattle. Any individual who witnesses inappropriate cattle treatment is responsible for making every effort to stop it immediately. Anyone who mistreats animals must be reported immediately, and should be punished in accordance with the law. The entire beef community—from farmers and ranchers to the federal government—must continue to work to improve all cattle welfare, and put a stop to abuse.