Inside a beef packing plant

Have you ever been able to tour inside a beef packing plant? Quite the opportunity if you get the chance. Of course there are undercover videos all over the web about the inside of the packing plants and show the mistreatment of animals – and they are horrible or setup. But that is a rarity in our industry.

Back in February 2011, I blogged about Oprah’s show where Cargill’s Nicole Johnson-Hoffman did an outstanding job of taking the viewers on a plant tour and explaining the process of humane animal handling. 

Now thanks to the Meat News Network, you are able to get a tour of a packing facility presented by Dr. Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and widely considered to be the world’s leading expert on humane animal handling at meat packing plants. This video provides an honest look at how cattle are handled at meat packing plants.

I especially like Dr. Grandin’s explanation of the difference of small vs. big packing plants (around 9:03). She explains that just because a plant is bigger, doesn’t mean it is going to care less about the humane treatment of those animals. The most important thing in both is that equipment is not over-loaded or under-staffed – the important part is management!

Read more from Dr. Grandin at

4 thoughts on “Inside a beef packing plant

  1. "Humane" means to be concerned with the alleviation of suffering. Normally, animals delivered at a packing plant are not in aging pain, injured or diseased. They are fit for life – so there is no "suffering" to end – Only life to take… Unnecessarily so I might add.

    Hu·mane / hyoomáyn / adj. 1. having what are considered the best qualities of human beings; kind, tender, merciful, sympathetic.
    From Webster’s New World Dictionary

    You may call it profitable slaughter – Or efficient slaughter… But you certainly misuse the English language if you maintain that it is "humane" slaughter.
    Thanks for inviting comment.

  2. Thank you @Bea Elliott for your comment. And I agree with your definition of "humane" = concerned with the alleviation of suffering. That is why I believe that farmers, ranchers and packing plants are very concerned and open with how they are treating their animals so we can all see that they care about them.

    I am grateful to Dr. Temple Grandin's video because she is able to not only explain, but also show the process of humane animal harvesting so there are no questions as to how it it done. Even for me – a beef rancher and consumer of beef – it sometimes makes my stomach churn to see the life going out of that beef animal. But I know that because of the research by Dr. Grandin and others, that animal was treated with the most respect. I know that not all believe that animals should be eaten and I respect your decision. However I am a consumer of meat protein (beef, chicken, pork, fish) and I believe that these animals were created by God for our use. I raise my beef animals with care and respect so that they in turn can take care of me and others all around that world that I help feed. Thanks for letting me share my opinion and thanks for sharing yours.

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