BANFF, Alta. — Animal behaviorist Temple Grandin has often said meat packing plants should have a live video on the internet to show what really happens to the millions of cattle, pigs and birds that are processed each year.
The American Meat Institute has taken her suggestion to heart, said chief executive officer Patrick Boyle.
Last August, Grandin was hired to narrate a video at a beef processing plant to show every step along the processing chain.
The final product went on the organization’s website as part of an initiative called the glass walls project. A video at a hog facility was released in April and another is coming from a turkey plant this fall.
Animal activists often say no one would eat meat if they saw what happens in a plant but so far 55,000 people have seen the cattle video and 20,000 have watched the hog program on YouTube.
Agriculture teachers have asked for copies.
“It shows everything in the pens, in the chute, the knock box,” Boyle said in an interview during the Canadian Meat Council annual meeting in Banff May 28-30.
“We are not hiding anything. It is a helpful contrast to the hidden videos and show this is how it is done every day,” Boyle said.
There is also a section talking about animal transport.
Many processors do not want the public touring their plants because of past incidents where a hidden camera showed abuses going on in the plants, said Ray Price, president of the meat council.
However, these videos show common practices and do not seem to have deterred people from continuing to eat meat.
“You can make standard practices look bad if you want,” he said. His family owns several plants and a chain of high end grocery stores called Sunterra Market in Calgary and Edmonton.
He said they have never been criticized for their production practices because their customers trust the Sunterra name.
To see the videos go to www.animalhandling.org