The president of a slaughterhouse at the heart of the largest meat recall denied under oath on Wednesday, but then changed his mind, that his company introduced sick cows into the food supply, says the NYT.
Apparently, Steve “The Cows Needed A Pick-Me-Up” Mendell was shocked, horrified and sickened by the undercover video that showed cows that were too sick to walk being lifted and prodded with forklifts.
“I was shocked. I was horrified. I was sickened,” Steve said.
Testifying before the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Mr. Mendell, who appeared only after being subpoenaed, assured lawmakers that despite his lack of knowledge about conditions at the plant, sick animals were not slaughtered for food, so no safety issue existed.
But Mr. Mendell retracted the statement when shown a second video in which a “downer” cow was shocked and abused by workers trying to move it to the “kill box,” then finally shot with a bolt gun and dragged by a chain to the processing area.
When Mr. Mendell told the committee he was unaware of the abuses, Mr. Stupak asked him, “What’s your curiosity, as president and C.E.O. of the company you’re responsible for?”
Mr. Mendell replied that after he had seen the first video, he concluded that “it was a regulatory violation, for sure, it was inhumane treatment, for sure,” but that he did not believe it was a food safety issue until he saw the second video on Wednesday.
Mr. Stupak asked if one could conclude from the video that the cow dragged into the killing area had gone into the food supply.
“That would be logical, sir,” Mr. Mendell replied.