The Null Device

Reasons to avoid meat? As abbatoirs in the US accelerate their production to compete for lucrative contracts, some non-essential steps have been cut out; such as making sure that the animals are dead before they cut them up. Clandestine videos have emerged showing that a lot of cattle are alive and conscious well into the slaughter process.

Still Moreno would cut. On bad days, he says, dozens of animals reached his station clearly alive and conscious. Some would survive as far as the tail cutter, the belly ripper, the hide puller. "They die," said Moreno, "piece by piece."

Though the abbatoir companies aren't taking this lying down; the plants in question have taken proactive measures to ensure that such an outrage does not recur. The measures include installing surveillance cameras to catch illicit videotaping and coercing workers into signing statements that they have never seen living animals where there shouldn't be any.

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