In this intense video clip, the reporter Lisa Ling follows cattle from the feedlot all the way through the Cargill slaughterhouse.
The reporter Lisa Ling was granted rare permission to film inside a Cargill slaughterhouse (tagline: "Meat Solutions") for The Oprah Show. First, she visits the cattle at the feedlot, where the snow-covered, corn-smudged cows stare right back at the camera—the farmer notes that "they are very curious animals." At the slaughterhouse, where they process 4,500 cows per day, Ling sees the calming pens, the serpentine ramp (designed by animal welfare advocate Temple Grandin), and the disassembly line. With her hand over her mouth, Ling watches as skins are stripped, hooves snipped, and carcasses disembowelled and sliced in half with a giant circular saw. The only part she is not allowed to film is the actual killing of the cows, which is done with a 4-inch bolt shot into the head. (You can watch the entire 6-minute clip online here.)
For anyone who has seen Food Inc. or Our Daily Bread, these images are nothing new, but for Cargill to allow Oprah to show even a sanitized version of them on prime daytime TV is pretty awesome. After all, if you eat meat, as I do, then you should be familiar with the reality of how it's produced.