Cameras could be placed in about 800 U.S. slaughterhouses to watch for improper procedures and inhumane handling of cattle, a federal official said Thursday.
A Senate committee recommended installing the cameras three years ago, but the proposal is getting new consideration in the wake of a massive recall of beef last month, Agriculture Undersecretary Richard Raymond told a House committee Thursday.
“It is really the inhumane handling issue,” Raymond told CNN. “I can’t see putting these in a plant that makes jerky, in a processing plant.”
Raymond said that logistical issues still exist, including figuring out who would watch the cameras and how they would be controlled.
“Those are the considerations we would have to take under advisement before we make a decision up or down on the camera issue,” he said.
Oh boy. Wasn’t it video that made this whole story explode?
Now, undercover video has been such a problem for the meat industry, with animal welfare activists sneaking cameras in to factory farms and slaughterhouses. And slaughterhouses typically do not want cameras inside, because the footage almost never shows them in a good light.
Given how effectively the food industry has undermined safety and labeling standards in the past, I can’t imagine they’ll let this notion see the light of day. and if they do it will be with enough loopholes to ensure that they — the slaugherhouses and not the government agency — will have control over the cameras (where they are placed, when they are on, etc.). My guess? If it happens under the Bush administration, the industry will control the cameras, watch them, retain control of the footage, and voluntarily report their findings to the government.
That might not be so bad. I can imagine that some clever animal welfare activists could probably figure out how to hack into those cameras and expose the footage that the industry doesn’t want the government or anyone else to see