By: Janet Riley
For years, animal rights activists claimed that if slaughter plants had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian. Last year, we decided to challenge that notion.
In August 2012, AMI launched a new video series we called “Glass Walls.” Our first video offered a look inside a typical cattle plant at the various steps that are taken as animals are slaughtered and processed into beef. The first video was narrated by animal handling expert Temple Grandin, Ph.D., professor of animal science at Colorado State University. Dr. Grandin’s life’s work has been dedicated to animal welfare and developing systems in use by the majority of facilities today to ensure animals are humanely handled. AMI partnered with Dr. Grandin in 1991 when she authored our first animal handling guidelines and again in 1997 when she wrote our animal handling audit. For two decades, she has been our primary animal welfare advisor and teacher.
The first beef video has been enormously successful with nearly 50,000 views on YouTube and an 87 percent positive rating amongst viewers. The video has also been shared with numerous educators who do not have access to YouTube in their classrooms, but wanted to show the video as an educational tool.
New Pork Video
Now AMI is taking the next step in the series with a video focused on pork. Dr. Grandin once again joined us to lead a tour of a typical pork plant. The video starts on the farm in a finishing barn, depicts pig loading on trailers, unloading at the plant, stunning of pigs to make them insensible to pain, which is required by law, the bleeding process, carcass chilling and fabrication of carcasses into cuts that consumers eat. The video details the widespread use of the AMI animal welfare audit, developed by Grandin for the industry in 1997, and now a global standard. In the first 36 hours, the video had more than 10,000 views. Agriculture teachers nationwide reached out seeking DVD copies of the videos that they could show to their students.
As a companion to both videos we have developed a print brochure that is available for download on animalhandling.org. The brochure highlights the important details behind the slaughter process and includes photos of the process, details of the AMI animal welfare audit and a Q&A with Temple Grandin.
The videos and brochure are part of AMI’s ongoing effort to meet consumer demands for transparency. Until this effort, many consumers’ only exposure to meat plants was via undercover videos that show the process without any explanation about what is actually occurring. There are many reasons why the public can’t simply visit a meat plant on demand. These videos aim to provide the in-plant experience for people who are interested.
For more on the videos and other resources, visit us at www.animalhandling.org. And don’t forget to share these resources on Facebook and Twitter.