This is Cheap Meat !!!

January 31, 2008 on 2:31 pm | In Resources | Comments



Recently the article written by Mark Bittman, “Rethinking the meat guzzler”, in the New York Times last week and the article “Chefs new Goal: looking dinner in the eye”, also in the New York Times the week before have created a huge stir around the consumption of meat. There was an onslaught of people complaining, and writing letters to the Times, that no matter how the animal is raised killing it for food is still murder. A few months back I did a photo documentation of my experience of a humane animal practice and slaughter and I caught a bunch of shit when Ruhlman posted it on his site.

Here is a Washington post article that I received Wednesday morning from a friend in D.C. Just to top it all, the company that is treating these animals like this have the national school lunch program account. Trust me, my child won’t be eating this meat. This gives you a reason to find out where your animals are coming from. Well, for all of those who really don’t fucking get it, here is a very graphic video to open your blind eye to what we as chefs are trying to prevent.

I am no fucking saint. Yes, I slaughter animals, but I fully believe that the animal should be treated humanely, see the light of day and roam freely all the way to the end. Call me what you may but I would never treat any animal like this. At the restaurant we serve animals raised under Certified Humane standards.

Remember you asked for cheap meat this is how you are all getting to enjoy that fucking $1.00 hamburger, eat up and watch this.

39 Responses to “This is Cheap Meat !!!”

  1. karine says:

    I think everyone who consumes meat should know where it comes from, how it is slaughtered if not witness the event at least once in their life. It is our responsibility as meat eaters to know these things.

    We as a society should eat less meat, eat meat that is raised humanely and not in a “factory setting”, from an animal that is fed a species appropriate diet and not grain and antibiotics.

    The biggest problem I find is when eating out, I don’t mind paying more for my steak knowing it is from a place that has humane practices… but not all restaurants publish information on where their meat comes from. The publication of this information should really be made more available or prominent.

    We are what we eat…

  2. taylor says:

    Unfortunately, not enough people will care to see this video. A couple of years ago, I probably wouldn’t have either. The problem is that those who tend to eat Industrial farmed beef, tend to want to turn a blind eye to how these cows are brought to slaughter. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose?

    I agree with Karine, Restaurants should publish where their meat comes from. If I don’t know where my food is coming from, I cant consciously eat it.

  3. Maya, C.V.T. says:

    Excellent post. PETA only manages to chase people away, only folks like you can reach the audience that needs to be reached.

    Bless you.

  4. Andrew says:

    I’m glad the meat production industry (I’d be loathe to call it anything other than what it is), is coming under increased scrutiny by cooks, authors, and the press. It has definitely impacted my buying habits-if I don’t know that the animal has been raised humanly, I avoid it. It is certainly more expensive, but I just eat less of it (and, keeping with the spirit of this blog, eat every part of it). Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have the access or resources to buy humanely raised meat, but hopefully the growth of small farmers will change that (and more sensible government policies to encourage such practices).

  5. Vinotas says:

    Sadly, most people don’t really care or don’t want to care about where their meat (and by extension all their food) comes from. They certainly don’t want to think about how it’s treated before it becomes a McPatty for $1 or so.

    Now, I am an avowed omnivore, I’ll eat almost anything at least once, but I am also for humane treatment of animals that are in our food chain. There’s no reason for them to be treated like they were in the video.

    I realize not everyone has the wherewithal to eat meat that’s more expensive, but I’m pretty sure if they knew the barbaric treatment these animals received they might pay a bit more for humanely slaughtered food.

    I’ve always been unapologetic about being at the top of the food chain, but this does make me slightly ashamed.

  6. Chuck says:

    Great post! I’m glad you are raising the awareness of Certified Humane standards. I hope it trickles down to “regular” restaurants and cooks. Too bad you don’t serve a gazillion people a year like the evil arches, because this is where you need to show this video. Maybe we can get a big screen TV in front of a flag ship Micky D store and show this vid.

  7. Bruce says:

    That’s just FU’d and cruel, not to mention putting peoples lives at stake to make a penny more a share. The executives and overseers that run these places only care about themselves and probably have some sick perverse ego. I’m surprise they are also feeding these down cattle to the other cattle (Mad Cow) for the sake of their pockets. Respect has gone by the wayside for people and the animals we are privileged to consume.

  8. to the chef: temple grandin has collaborated with McDonalds. how is McDonald meat different from that which is ‘certified humane’?

    contrary to popular opinion, McDonald is bringing in a lot of the right direction. McD is probably more ‘green’ than a lot of starred restaurants in this country. we should try to keep perspective and facts in the same page.

    to maya…i amreally sorry to do this, but i have to disagree with you. while its tru that it is fashionable to be a PETA basher, if it werent for PETA(and ‘its ilk’), a lot of the abominations and travesties that goes on in america’s food production and distribution system would have never come to light. perhaps, PETA irritates those who are avowed meat eaters with its firm(and undoubtedly correct, imo) pro-vegetarian stance, but it certainly doesnt ‘scare’ them.

  9. dmbfanmd says:

    That video is horrendous. Chris, thank you for posting it. Compare this video to your pictures from the humane slaughterhouse and the difference is unimagineable. Thank you for spreading the word and hopefully millions of people will see this video and think twice about what they put into their body.

  10. Maya, C.V.T. says:

    Hey Faustian!

    That’s okay, I can take the heat and I’m up for a respectful debate any day of the week. As a vet nurse and shelter worker I saw the ugly effect that PETA had on the public’s trust. I would try to educate people and they would ask me if I was going to burn their house down. That’s PETA’s fault. Ask the average stranger how they feel about them – don’t take my word for it. PETA is a great organization but for the most part only their nastiest stunts get publicity, which is sad. That’s why it’s so crucial that respected chefs like Chris get the word out themselves. One thing I’m baffled about is, why now? This kind of animal abuse has been going on forever. What changed, I wonder…..

  11. Phil says:

    If this doesn’t drive people to buy their beef from markets like Whole Foods, which include labels with information from the farm where it’s raised, I don’t know what will.

    Slaughtering a sick, limping animal for food is bad enough (Mad Cow anyone?), but putting that kind of stress on the animal just before it’s sent to the slaughterhouse is the icing on the cake. The amount of adrenaline running through that cow just tainted the whole thing.

    As sad as it is to watch, everyone who buys their cheap meat at the supermarket or Costco needs to see this.

    Great post, Chris.

  12. maya..i am baffled too..why now? whats being reported is nothing new.

    re PETA…no ‘heat’ …:)…just disagreement.

    imo, PETA has done more than threats of ‘burning houses down’. you cant throw the baby with the bathwater. PETA also operates in other countries and its ‘stunts’ there are rather different….why it behaves badly in certain countries is possibly a reflection on these countries..afterall, those who hatch the stunts are citizens who believe that its the only way to communicate to those like themselves.

    most of the so-called ‘terrorism’ from PETA actually comes from ALF..animal liberation front..which is a self proclaimed anarchist group. and PETA refuses to condemn ALF. i am pretty sure that PETA has never burned any buildings. i dont know why ALF acts of terrorism are always attributed to PETA without proof that they are both one and the same. there is no evidence that they are one and the same. perhaps, we should wonder why PETA is smeared with false allegations while majority of PETA’s work has helped animals with mostly loud and sometimes laughable stunts.

    the next time someone suggests that PETA burns buildings, tell them that they dont….ALF does…

  13. Lydia says:

    A guy I worked with until recently told me he’d bought an entire cow from a friend. I was enthused that he might be into using the whole animal until he told me that he just wanted the steaks and stuff. I was sickened and enraged when he told me how his friend killed the cow- cut the head off with a chainsaw while it was alive. Because he didn’t want to waste a bullet.

  14. Judy says:


    I applaud you for your honesty and fierceness. I am a working single mom and I choose to pay more for free range and locally sourced or organic food rather than this weeks trends. What nourishes us is far more important than what we decorate our lives with, so it is my choice to pay more.

    This video proves it is a good choice.

    Great post.

    I live in Cleveland and adore Michael Symon and the talented Ruhlman but you rocked on The Next Iron Chef!


  15. Chris -

    The video is sickening. And I’m thrilled you posted it.

    What you’re doing is important – showing that there are ways to raise and slaughter meat humanely and safely. The more you do this – put pictures on your site, write about the experience (even though you catch hell for it) – the more people will be inspired to make changes at their own tables.

    You inspired me…and I linked to your site so my readers could check out your humane slaughtering practices, too. Thanks!


  16. nycgarden says:

    In my neighborhood we have one meat market-really, just one. The meat there is not labeled but Pork, Beef, Lamb etc. The price is 1/3 to 1/2 what I would pay in other neighborhoods with more markets. In a pinch, I buy at our local market. I started to wonder if the meats were imports from China or elsewhere. How could it be so cheap? My neighborhood is definitely living on the edge of subsistence so cheap meats are all that will be sold here. I figure thats why theres only one meat market. Are we selling alot of imported “fresh” meats in NYC?

  17. Catherine says:

    Chef Chris,
    Thanks so much for this insightful and fierce, but encouraging, post. You’ve really inspired me. Now, I’m going to take the time to find out where my meat is from. My sisters (ages 10 & 11) agree with this idea – my 11-year-old sister has always loved animals and hates to see them hurt (once she watched an episode of Animal Cops where practically a whole truck of chickens that were being transported to a slaughterhouse had frozen to death on the journey because of inadequate shelter) and my 10-year-old sister looks into a lot of culinary stuff with me, so we usually end up talking about things like this. I don’t really know what McDonald’s is doing about the whole “cheap meat” thing – but I have decided that until I find out I’m not going to get any meat items from McD’s. It tastes good – but it’s unhealthy, fattening and if you’re right, a crime against humane animal treatment. Thanks so much Chef Cosentino. Without you speaking up about things like this, I’d probably never hear about them because I don’t really look into this stuff too often except for visiting this site. Thanks for keeping me updated!
    =) Catherine

    P.S. Like Judy, I also adored Michael Symon (even though I’m not from Cleveland) but you would have made an awesome Iron Chef, too!

  18. wehotom says:

    That comment from Lydia about the chainsaw…That guy needs to be tracked down, driven out of farming, and sent to jail.

  19. Catherine says:

    Chef Cosentino,
    My friend Hannah sent me this link. She and I have been talking a lot lately about what you said. Her main passion is to end the brutal horse slaughtering. She loves horses. Here’s the link – there’s a video included, but I couldn’t watch it (darn dial up)..I thought somebody might and tell me what it was about.

    I sent your post to a lot of my friends, most of whom are teenagers. None have responded yet but I hope I stopped them in their tracks and made them think.
    :-) Catherine

    I love this site!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. drbehavior says:

    I’ve enclosed the headline and first couple of paragraphs of this article in todays Washington Post.

    Inspectors Verify Abuse Of Cows in California
    Mistreatment Was Captured on Video At Slaughterhouse

    By Rick Weiss
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, February 7, 2008; Page A02

    Employees at the now-closed Southern California slaughterhouse where inhumane treatment of cows was captured on a gruesome undercover video committed “egregious violations” of federal animal care regulations, the U.S. Agriculture Department has determined.

    The agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service formally withdrew its inspectors from Hallmark Meat Packing in Chino on Monday after verifying the mistreatment and discovering other problems at the plant, an agency official said yesterday.

    “They’ve got some obvious multilevel issues,” said Kenneth Petersen, assistant administrator of field operations, which inspects the nation’s 6,200 meat processing plants. “For them to get out from under this, they are going to have to explain what exactly happened, why it happened and what are the multiple measures they’re going to put in place to prevent it from happening again.”

    The problems came to light last week when the Humane Society of the United States released video footage taken by a Hallmark employee who was working undercover for the Washington-based animal welfare group.

  21. Julie says:

    Yes Yes Yes… Thank you Chef Chris for posting this video! I hope that the people who really need to see this get to. I couldn’t agree more with you. Every time I drive up North past Coalinga, I cringe to see the cows on top of cows on top of cows on top of their own shit. It’s disgusting.

  22. susan says:

    Yes, I slaughter animals, but I fully believe that the animal should be treated humanely, see the light of day and roam freely all the way to the end.
    does this not seem a contadiction?? sure i kill them, but i let them be happy first.
    a veg

  23. Catherine says:

    Susan, I don’t agree that Chef Cosentino is making a contradiction. Not everyone has made the choice to be a vegetarian, and people who eat meat need to know where their meat comes from and make sure that the animal has had a happy life. We’ve got to be good stewards of our meat if we want to eat it – I ask you, would you rather eat meat treated like it was in the video or humanely treated meat?

  24. Jeffrey Harriman says:

    As a chef and former farm boy from New Hampshire, I am appalled by this display of hell.

    This re-enforces my general feeling about the state of the food supply in the U.S. …corrupted beyond belief for the sake of higher profits and quality be damned.

  25. Matt says:

    I’m pretty sure being a vegetarian isn’t a prerequisite of sainthood.

  26. DrBehavior says:

    Today is February 17th and the time is 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time. As of one hour ago the government has issued a recall of all the meat that was distributed from that Southern California ‘hell-hole’.

  27. [...] On the heels of the news that the Korean FDA is dragging its heels on recalling fish tainted with super-resistant bacteria, the US FDA is finally getting around to recalling and bringing charges against the slaughterhouse and employees depicted in a highly distributed video on the Internet. [...]

  28. Hillary says:

    Thanks for telling it like it is. You rock!

  29. nerk says:

    This was not an isolated incident as stated. It has been going on for years, every where…. I use to work next to a meat processing plant in San Antonio Texas for many years. You could plainly see the sick, downed cows and no one cares. Any adult who eats meat should be part of a lottery that takes turns witnessing or working at one of these plants at least once. Like jury duty. Children should be given tours. The people who work at these places get desensitized and become cruel and uncaring after a while. It is not an easy job for anyone, under the best circumstances. If you have never killed an animal to eat before or witnessed the slaughter, you have no right to eat meat. Period. That steak or burger came from something living. Everyone is guilty for thinking it’s all good if it’s in a neat little package. I’d rather hunt deer.

  30. winexprt says:

    AMEN nerk!!! Amen.

    Simply couldn’t agree more. This has become a nation of desensitized pussies, for lack of a MORE fitting description.

    There is a horrendous disconnect as to where what you eat comes from.

  31. Robert says:

    On top of all of the other comments above, meat raised humanely just tastes better. It is no different than vegetables raised in greenhouses or in gardens. If food comes from a factory it tastes industrial if it comes from a humane environment it tastes fresh. This is true also with milk, eggs etc..

  32. Bacchus Acolyte says:

    Oh boo hoo. Poor walking hamburgers or in this case reclining hamburgers. I dont buy the whole argument about downed cattle being more dangerous b/c they sit in poo… all cows do that and it apears in the clip that they are washing them off. These pieces of beef are about to be killed… so they get picked up by a forklift, they are too big to carry and they are too dumb to listen. There has been no evidence of anyone getting sick from the “mistreated” beef so whats the harm?

    Truth be told if you eat meat you are a killer and you might as well accept it… embrace it… make it your own. You, as an omnivore, sponcer the killing of children (lamb,veal), the rape of cattle (milk and other dary products), etc. You can not feel guilty for killing these THINGS.

    These silly reports are a slippery slope down that dark and terible path that it vegitarianism. BEWARE!

  33. Hettie G. says:

    Bacchus Acolyte….
    your post confuses me and kinda frustrates me…

    i eat meat…in fact, i prefer it. i think it is one of the most delicios things on the menu! i would chose to eat a steak so much quicker than the veggies. i often eat it first, in it’s entirety. so what if we kill animals? cheetahs kill animals. sharks kill people, who’s crying for them? animal kingdom. the way of life. this isnt a post to try to turn people veg, this is to try to get REAL animal rights activists the right thing to fight for. for the humane treatment of animals. not worry about their “feelings”, to make sure they get the full life and right treatment…just the same as throwing a dog you dont want on the highway while your car is still moving. this is to get people to be more aware that their food isn’t being done the way it should.
    and im sorry but free roaming cows arent covered in fecal matter. they have ROOM to go somewhere else after they poop. they are human infants that don’t know when they poop. in this specific case(video) cows didnt have somewhere else to go poop and then somewhere else to go laydown. nd the person washing them off, who’s to say that wasn’t the only one they cleaned, since a camera was there. and if they are covered in shit and they get cut for slaughter, the fecal matter could possibly get into the meat and their poop sprouts phsycadelic mushrooms, who knows what it contains when given the fungicide to cut that part out and what not. not saying that it has happened but without the animals getting the proper care and treatment, it has a serious potential threat.

    so before you try to be a saracastic wise ass…think.
    –Hettie G.

  34. Litsa says:

    Great post :) Thank you! Added the link to this page on twitter…

  35. The video concentrated quite a bit on the health aspects as well, and it could help explain why the Koreans are also wary of more American beef being introduced in their country. I have no idea if the supplier in the video will be part of that, but if one could do that, the others might as well.

  36. Meatatarian says:

    Most of America can’t afford to choose where their food comes from. Should we let them eat cake?

  37. Paul says:

    There are new laws protecting market from down cattle being processed at USDA facilities, any cow which has an injury or disease where it becomes lame whether at facility or prior to arrival can no longer be slaughtered. This has its upside, in that with all the recalls etc, from large cattle producers, etc, it allows for more animals to be removed from the process. Downside of this is that it is a blanket item, so if lets say a cow gets injured while loadin gor unloading from a trailer to a slaughterhouse, which does happen, or it breaks its leg on farm in a woodchuck hole, etc, then this whole animal becomes waste as neither the farmer, nor the processor is allowed to utilize it for any other use than for themselves. So it has its ups and downs, I am in agreement with destroying all lame cattle, only because it protects the end user, which is most important, but it does waste these animals, and what they lived to provide, and creates a disposal issue for the farm or the processor. anyhow, just my 2 cents worth, I know some local farmers to me keep some of these that are known healthy, and utilize them for themselves, etc. Most animals from small family farms would never make it to these facilities to begin with. But it is very difficult for a famr like mine who produces small amounts of cattle and pigs to be able to get them USDA processed, and therefore eliminates us from the supply chain, as well as takes us out of the market for making our local products available outside of whole or half animals etc. I do not have a USDA slaughterhouse/processing facility who will take outside work from small holdings within 100 miles of my farm. So I have to take to small USDA slaughter houses, but customer has to then take animal to a custom processor, which makes it so I cannot sell cuts of meat etc, and therefore am completely unable to compete with the producers as shown in the video.
    I support the local movement, just be aware that it is very difficult under current laws for the true small family producer to be abel to supply you your steak and hamburger, as we do not have access to the USDA facilities in many parts of this country. I have spoken with USDA, NYS ag and Markets etc, they state they are aware of issue, and it took 20 calls to different people in both agencies to find someone who could even get me a list of possible processors, or slaughterhouses in WNY. So just be aware, although it may not have a stamp the true way to get items where you know they have not been through this type of treatment is to buy from a small farm, and choose to have whole or partial animal processed by a small processor who will allow you to see his facility. The small slaughterhouses, and processors I utilize have 2 – 10 employees and only do 10 – 20 animals in any given week, only downfall is you do not get the USDA label for resale, so the farmer would have to sell you whole animal, but this is the cheapest way to go anyhow, it is more a matter of storage.

  38. jeff says:

    If we aren’t supposed to eat animals, why are they made out of meat?

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