Meat Company Chief Admits Sick Cows Were Slaughtered

He backtracks after watching second video
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2008 3:51 PM CDT
Pallets of USDA-recalled frozen beef are pushed by a bulldozer into the Los Angeles County Sanitation Landfill in La Puente, Calif. on Wednesday, March 5, 2008. The pallets are among the 156,500 pounds...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The president of the California slaughterhouse caught up in a scandal over the abuse of cattle admitted to Congress today that sick cows from his plant entered the food supply, the Los Angeles Times reports. He backtracked from an earlier denial after a House panel made him watch a second undercover video. "Obviously my system broke down," said Steve Mendell of Westland/Hallmark Meat.

In earlier written testimony, Mendell acknowledged that a widely circulated video from the Humane Society showed his workers mistreating downer cows, using electric prods and a forklift, but he said those cows were euthanized and not processed for sale. After watching the second video, Mendell had to admit that at least two sick cows entered the slaughterhouse. "My company is ruined," he said. (Read more animal cruelty stories.)