The reaction to The HSUS’s latest undercover investigation exposing callous animal cruelty at a Vermont slaughter plant was universal: absolute disgust, especially when readers found out that a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector failed to stop gross abuses of infant calves and that the plant’s co-owner joined in on the abuse. Today, I post some of your responses.
But first I wanted to share an update on Arkansas hoarder Tammy Hanson, whose case I've chronicled on the blog. On Wednesday, an Arkansas judge sentenced Hanson to one year in prison, plus $18,000 in fines, court costs, and restitution, in connection with her 2006 conviction on multiple charges of cruelty to animals. Together with her husband, William Hanson, she kept more than 500 dogs in terrible circumstances at her property in Gamaliel, Ark., which law enforcement authorities raided in October 2005. The Hansons fled to Vermont, and Tammy Hanson was arrested there in July of this year and subsequently extradited. William Hanson is in jail in Missouri fighting extradition to Arkansas at this time. The HSUS played a major role in the Hanson case at all stages, and I am pleased to report that there has been a reckoning.
Your comments on the investigation:
Wayne, thank you for putting HSUS money into undercover investigations. These horrors must be exposed over and over again to wake up the public and the government to the truth of what is going on behind slaughterhouse and factory farm walls. —Janet Hamilton
Sorry Wayne, I just couldn't watch this video after reading your message. Just reading your words sickened me and made my skin crawl knowing how these poor little babies suffer. I have never eaten veal and always ask those who do if they know what veal is…most answer no. This story is a heart crusher. Will the cruelty of animals ever stop? —Nancy Ball
Kudos to the HSUS and a big "thank you" to the undercover investigator who had to bear witness to this. The footage is extremely difficult to watch; I'm sure it was a very distressing assignment. Those of us who love and care about animals appreciate the sacrifice he/she made. It's these kinds of investigations and results that make me proud to be a HSUS supporter. —Del
Those who obtain undercover footage of animals being abused are heroes. Very few people would be up for the challenge. It's these videos that provide the proof and can lead to convictions, closures, and a shift of public perception. It is awesome that officials as high up as the Agriculture Secretary have condemned the abuse at this Vermont facility. Let's keep working to end veal production altogether, in each and every state. —Charley
I am so sickened by this. I sit at my desk at work in tears and unable to speak. These poor defenseless creatures. Is it not bad enough they are basically sent to slaughter right after birth, but they are also treated with such unspeakable cruelty? What is wrong with these people doing this? It scares me to know they walk the Earth. I have such hatred in my heart for these individuals and such despair that humans are capable of this. I will not forget these images anytime soon. Thank you for your hard work and for bringing this to light. —Cyndee H.
I am so thankful that this plant was shut down. Thank you HSUS investigator for taking the risk and filming this horrendous abuse. How often people make the claim that because USDA inspectors are present the animals are slaughtered humanely. Nonsense. Some of them are just putting in their time and look the other way or, worse yet, watch the abuse. —Craig
I wish the people involved could be prosecuted but I know that is unlikely with food animals. It seems some people involved in this work enjoy it and there is something wrong with that. While I do eat some meat, I don’t eat veal because of what I have learned about it. And I feel guilty eating anything after hearing these stories. I wish all involved in this business could have some humanity. —John Gilligan
These factories should be run by people who truly care for the welfare of animals; people who will put a stop to workers who commit these crimes. Thank you for bringing these stories to the surface. The more people know about the problem, the more they will get involved in the solution. —Jana Hardison
I don't think I have ever been so horrified in my whole life. I could not finish watching the surveillance video because it completely broke my heart. How can we be so cruel? —Honeybee
The undercover investigators have to have the heart of a lion to go in there and document these atrocities time and time again. It is so hard to watch these videos—I break down EVERY time, but without the work that you do things will never change. —Lois Silvanovich
I believe it. They treat those animals so bad, I hate it. I think anyone who abuses an animal is capable of the worst. I feel like a hypocrite because I eat meat, but I really believe there is a more humane way to treat them while they are alive. I love animals so much and I just cannot conceive how anyone could be cruel to them. —Chel1720
I am just sickened by what I have been seeing since I made a conscious choice to "look behind the curtain" of what happens on factory farms, in puppy mills, the Canada seal slaughter, etc. I never looked before and now that I have I wish I could run back inside. I will never be the same and will do whatever I can to help end abuse for these very deserving animals. —Kitty Corbitt
Breaks my heart to see what kind of people we have become. And the abuses Wayne cites above are just the most egregious. What grieves me even more is society's level of tolerance for the daily lives of most factory farm animals. Dairy cows with their 1,500 pound frames standing day after day on hard barn floors with grassy pastures out of the question. Mama pigs strapped down for more efficient nursing. The hens trapped by the thousands in cavernous barns. It's no way to treat the ladies. —Jean Johnson