Hamburger horrors on ABC, NY Times etc. thanks to COK investigation
An Animal Rights Article from


Karen Dawn, DawnWatch
August 2012

Also read Rampant Cruelty to Dairy Cows at California Slaughterhouse

COK's latest investigation has led to the temporary shut-down of a plant that kills spent dairy cows who end up in In-N-Out burgers and in the Federal school lunch program.

People who have received DawnWatch know how I feel about the group Compassion Over Killing -- or COK. The folks there have had great success at encouraging mainstream restaurants to include vegan options on the menu -- like Subway, for e.g. -- so that after folks have seen COK's terrific "A side of Truth" ads on MTV or elsewhere it is getting easier for them to switch to plant based options.

COK specializes in undercover work at factory farms and slaughterhouses, particularly at getting the images they collect out to the public via the media.

Their latest investigation has led to the temporary shut-down of a plant that kills spent dairy cows who end up in In-N-Out burgers and in the Federal school lunch program. And it has led to over 1,000 media stories, many of which include Compassion Over Killing's shocking video on the media site's web page.

The New York Times, besides its brief print story, has an in-depth blog story that includes some of the USDA's response:

Based on the videotape, in at least four instances, plant employees are observed excessively prodding cattle with an electric device, pulling their tails, or forcibly attempting to make cattle rise from a recumbent position. All actions are considered egregious humane handling violations or in regulatory noncompliance.

The New York Times blog story includes the video from COK on which we hear this voice-over as we see the accompanying video:

At Central Valley countless deaths we documented were slow and agonizing. Rather than properly stunning animals, Central Valley sends cows who are still thrashing after they've been shocked down a conveyor belt where they are hoisted kicking and struggling before their throats are eventually slit.

It is hard to watch -- the site of those huge animals thrashing around as they hang by one little leg is pitiful. And we see cows being shocked and hear that one poor being was shocked as many as forty times.

As I send out this alert there is only one comment so far on that blog (it's witty -- I love it) so please chime in. And as the story did also appear in the print version please consider a letter to the editor. This is the perfect opportunity to question the consumption of animal products and sing the praises of soy lattes. The New York Times takes letters at [email protected]

The Los Angeles Times story covered more of the horror:

Meier's group said one segment showed a cow who was still alive after being shot in the head being suffocated by workers who stood on its mouth and nostrils. Another featured downed cows, unable to walk, who were shot in the head as many as four times, with workers often walking away as the animal continued to struggle and kick, according to the organization.

(Note the use of both "who" and "it" in the same sentence -- the cow was probably a dairy cow, a she -- showing the reporter's struggle with animal friendly language. It's nice to see the effort.)

That Los Angeles Times story is on line at
You can comment below it and send a letter to the editor at [email protected]

The slaughterhouse story was probably most widely seen on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer. ABC aired a watered-down version, as one would expect for dinner time in homes across America. But it was hard-hitting enough to provide people with an unpleasant reminder as to the history of their dinners.

You can post a comment below. And please send a big thank you to ABC World News for covering the issue.

A few years back, when ABC World News won a Genesis Award for some of its animal friendly reporting, producer Judy Muller told the awards show audience:

"The good news is that the audience response to these stories is wonderful, and that means that these stories will keep coming. In the hard-hearted world of network news that's that bottom line." Please be part of that audience response. ABC World News takes comments at

And please, if you see this story in your local media, send in your comments and your appreciation for the coverage. Interest in and positive feedback for animal cruelty stories encourages more of them.

DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at DawnWatch. You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts only if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line.

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