At first, Steve Mendell, president of the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company, denied under oath that his company had apparently introduced sick cows into the hamburger supply. But then he grudgingly admitted it was the case.
Mendell said, “I was shocked. I was horrified. I was sickened,” by video that showed employees kicking or using electric prods on “downer” cattle that were too sick to walk.
Mr. Mendell first told lawmakers that sick animals were not slaughtered for food, so no safety issue existed. But he retracted the statement when shown a second video in which a “downer” cow was shocked and abused by workers trying to move it to the “kill box.” They finally shot it with a bolt gun and dragged it by a chain to the processing area.
* New York Times March 13, 2008