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The True Story of One Anonymous Animal Born Into the Meat Industry

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Posted March 24, 2009 by Marta Holmberg

When I was in college, I remember attending a Veg Fair and coming across a PETA card for a free Vegetarian Starter Kit. Now, I had already been a vegetarian for many years, but I thought, “Hey, there’s probably some delicious recipes included, so I’ll check it out.” I was totally excited when the kit came in the mail a few weeks later, and I sat down to read through it right away. In the kit, I read a story that opened my eyes and changed my life forever, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

Downed Cow: The True Story of One Anonymous Animal Born Into the Meat Industry

The truck carrying this cow was unloaded at Walton Stockyards in Kentucky one September morning. After the other animals were removed from the truck, she was left behind, unable to move. The stockyard workers used their customary electric prods in her ear to try to get her out of the truck, then beat and kicked her in the face, ribs, and back, but still she didn’t move. They tied a rope around her neck, tied the other end to a post in the ground, and drove the truck away. The cow was dragged along the floor of the truck and fell to the ground, landing with both hind legs and her pelvis broken. She remained like that until 7:30 that evening.

For the first three hours, she lay in the hot sun crying out. Periodically, when she urinated or defecated, she used her front legs to drag herself along the gravel roadway to a clean spot. She also tried to crawl to a shaded area but couldn’t move far enough. Altogether, she managed to crawl a painful 13 to 14 yards. The stockyard employees wouldn’t allow her any drinking water; the only water she received was given to her by Jessie Pierce, a local animal rights activist, who had been contacted by a woman who witnessed the incident. Jessie arrived at noon. After receiving no cooperation from stockyard workers, she called the Kenton County Police. A police officer arrived but was instructed by his superiors to do nothing; he left at 1 p.m.


© Jessie Pierce

The stockyard operator informed Jessie that he had permission from the insurance company to kill the cow but wouldn’t do it until Jessie left. Although doubtful that he would keep his word, Jessie left at 3 p.m. She returned at 4:30 p.m. and found the stockyard deserted. Three dogs were attacking the cow, who was still alive. She had suffered a number of bite wounds, and her drinking water had been removed. Jessie contacted the state police. Four officers arrived at 5:30 p.m. State trooper Jan Wuchner wanted to shoot the cow but was told that a veterinarian should kill her. The two veterinarians at the facility would not euthanize her, claiming that in order to preserve the value of the meat, she could not be destroyed. The butcher eventually arrived at 7:30 p.m. and shot the cow. Her body was purchased for $307.50.

When the stockyard operator was questioned by a reporter from The Kentucky Post, he stated, “We didn’t do a damned thing to it,” and referred to the attention given to the cow by humane workers and police as “bullcrap.” He laughed throughout the interview, saying that he found nothing wrong with the way that the cow was treated.

This is not an isolated case. It is so common that animals in this condition are known in the meat industry as “downers.” After PETA brought much-needed attention to this issue, the Kenton County Police Department adopted a policy requiring that all downed animals be immediately euthanized, whether they are on the farm, in transit, or at the slaughterhouse. Sadly, other law enforcement agencies don’t have such policies, and downed animals continue to suffer everywhere. It is up to the public to demand change, and it is up to consumers to refuse to purchase the products of this miserable industry.

I went vegan because of this cow. Though I was vegetarian for a long time, I had no idea that animals in the food industry were treated so horribly. She changed my life forever. Is there a particular animal’s story that changed your life? Let me know about it by commenting below.

Marta
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  • 1236 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    PEOPLE THINK ANIMALS DO NOT HAVE FEELINGS, THEY HAVE MORE FEELINGS THEN A LOT OF PEOPLE. I DO NOT EAT MEAT. LORD LOOK AFTER YOUR ANIMAL FRIENDS

  • 2031 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    This story is so sad! The only thing that helps me not to curl up in a ball and cry is that the Bible says in Romans 12 : 19 “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”
    And also, even though the cruelty that these animals get is horrible again the Bible says in Genesis 1:29,30 “And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. 30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so.”
    Although I would love for this cruelty to stop most-likly it will only get worse because again the Bible says in Genesis 6 : 5 “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” I want to clear up that this passage was before the Flood and that is why God said this, but still there are wicked people out there like these people who did this to that poor cow!!
    I also want to say that I am only 12 and am NOT trying to be a smart alic but that I trust in the Lord that He will take care of the earth until Christ (Jesus) comes again.
    I feel so bad for this animal who was treated so badly for so long and this makes me want to become a veterinarian (animal doctor not vegitarian) even more!!!
    Praise be to Him
    Hope

  • 2116 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    1

    i love animals never eat them :-(

  • 2197 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    These people will get their Lesson well LEARNED!

  • 2197 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    that is so so sad and NO animal deserves to be treated like that. it made me cry and i hope people who are cruel to animals have the same thing(s) done to them.

  • 2283 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    That poor cow! How can people turn a blind eye to such suffering?!

  • 2285 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    wow, this story will forever be on my heart! i don’t understand what goes through the heads of those farmers. i WISH that they would actully experience that, and then i know that they would stop to think and stop to eat…meat..eggs…milk
    JUST LIKE ME :)

  • 2287 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    1

    All I can say is….There is NO way in this world that I could ever say meat is good, when I know how these animals were abused!…What kind of person would I be?…I only wish I had been educated long before now!…I have been a Vegan now for 2 yrs….I had read something in a book about the slaughtering of animals, did some more research, and from that moment on it’s history….I’m 58# lighter now and feel the best I have ever felt in my life!….Do it for yourself, Do it for the Animals…It’s a win win situation…Good Luck to all!

  • 2287 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    This story made me cry when i read it DX DX

  • 2288 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Ah, I think eating meat is kinda disgusting. I actually kinda stopped eating meat, like I don’t eat it as much as I just to. Everytime I eat it I’m like “Ewhh, get that away from me.” It’s like I don’t wanna eat it’s just gross to me.
    But I kinda have to eat it because my dad makes me eat dinner, so I have to. but yeah, yer story is sad. WE SHOULD NOT EAT ANIMALS! But I mean how are we going to survive. We need to eat something.
    And greens don’t always make you strong.
    but I mean going out and slaughter cows and pigs and seals, etc, is just really wrong. I mean there are some cruel people that will do it and are still doing it. And it’s just really sad.
    I hate seeing something die from something so cruel. It just wants me to break down and cry, and it’s not right.
    The people that are doing this kind of stuff need to stop.
    And we need to put our foot down.
    And get the people arrest or just taking away.
    And should have a puinshment for all this mistreatment they do to this poor animals.
    That’s my opinion I hoope enjoyed

  • 2288 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    My story isn’t quite the same as this but the reason I became vegetarian anyways.
    My sister had a cat who was bit older and I was living with them in London, Ontario. One day her Cat “Spike” began to act strangely, breathing heavy and panting as well as having trouble walking, so we took Spike to the vet after I calmed my sister down. When we arrived at the vet we were told it would cost close to $1000 just to figure out what was wrong with him and then who knows how much to treat it.
    The staff at the vet’s office were very kind but in the end we had no choice but to put him to sleep. We couldn’t afford it and it wasn’t fair to allow him to suffer anymore. My sister couldn’t say the words so she left the decision up to me. I always loved animals so it was an extremely hard call to make but for the sake of my sister I said it just so she wouldn’t have to.
    We cried for hours and it was hard for us to say goodbye to Spike and watch them carry him out of the room. Spike was very jittery cat and was scared of everything (probably because he came from an abusive home)I couldn’t stand the idea of how scared he must have been.
    After this I spent some time alone in my room reflecting on the days event and for some strange reason all I could think about was why do people get so upset when a family pet dies but not any other animal. There was no difference but we for some reason people believe there is. People can claim the animal food chain all they want but ultimatly we are not like other animals, we have the ability to find healthy ways of living without hurting others, that is what makes humans what we are.
    So I called my mom and talked it out and told her I wanted to become a vegetarian, she told me do whatever you feel like doing. So from that day on I never once faultered, with the exception of some accidents, like eating a BBQ sauce that had sardines in it etc…. Never knew about at first, now I am more careful.
    P.S. we got some X-Rays back later and apprently he had Brain Tumors.

  • 2289 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    This is honestly one of the saddest stories i’ve ever heard. :(

  • 2289 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    these people make me so sick.

  • 2289 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    i read the full version and it was so hard to hold back tears this truly makes me discussed to belong to the same species as these monsters who would do such a thing

  • Uma

    2289 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    One day I was watching a video about the horror of slaughterhouses and one thing that has stuck with me was a pig who was up on a hook about to be killed, but then fell off and scrambled to his feet in a pile of blood.
    I was vegetarian the next day.

  • 2289 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    thank you so much for posting this. i’ve been a vegetarian for 3 years, and i think we all have those days where we seem like we don’t matter. this really reminded me of why i’m doing this, and that each and every one of us DOES matter. never ever give up on yourself or these animals. they need you.

  • 2289 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    When I was 9, we used to own a farm, every now and again they’d have BBQs.. My Aunt told me to go inside and peel some potatos for supper. I did as I was told. I couldn`t find the potato peeler so I went back outside to ask my mama where it was, as I walked outside I heard squealing, pig squealing, MY pig`s squealing.. I ran as fast as I could around the corner of the house and I saw the body of my pig, Phelix, with her head laying on the ground beside her, I screamed at my uncle, and my aunt, and my cousins, and mom, and dad, and grandparents, why did you do this?!…. After that I realized that every steak, chicken breast, fish stick that I had eaten could have been somebody else’s “Phelix”.
    ~Kelsey Brennan

  • 2289 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Wow…that cow looked beauitful
    thats just plain horror

  • 2289 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Poor cow… stupid humans.

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