Gatineau Cow Shooting: Quebec Police Defend Fatal Shooting Of Cattle Caught On Video
GATINEAU, Que. - A senior police officer in Gatineau, Que., is defending the fatal police shooting of two cattle last week, saying a video that captured the incident and was posted online _ does not show the whole story.
In an open letter to the media issued Tuesday, deputy police Chief Luc Beaudoin says his officers killed the animals because they were threatening the public.
The video, recorded by a horrified witness, showed police cars, with lights and sirens going, chasing and surrounding one of the animals as officers fired at least 10 shots from close range.
The video has been seen more than 254,000 times on YouTube by viewers from around the world, stirring accusations that the Gatineau police lacked compassion for the animals and used excessive cruelty.
Beaudoin acknowledged that the public is questioning why police didn't use tranquilizers or corral the animals that were already destined for the slaughterhouse when they escaped from a trailer last Thursday.
But he says the video is 77 seconds long and does not reflect the reality of the intervention, which lasted more than an hour, during which, he says, police consulted with the animals' owner and other cattle breeders in an effort to calm the animals and isolate them.
"An hour during which every attempt failed, and during which one of the animals, who may not have appeared dangerous to witnesses who had not seen the preceding 60 minutes, charged vehicles, moved a trailer by its sheer physical strength, and managed to once again escape, right there in the city near a school and busy roads."
Beaudoin also says police contacted wildlife officers "who unfortunately were unable to assist us."
He says the police are trained to protect the public and "while none of them wants to see an animal suffer, public safety must be the primary consideration."
Beaudoin says the Gatineau police service has launched an administrative investigation, which is standard whenever an officer uses a gun.
He says the investigation's recommendations will be reviewed, adding "we all stand to learn something from this unfortunate event."
The animals' deaths have prompted a letter-writing campaign, organized by Canadians for Ethical Treatment of Food Animals, that targets the Gatineau police force.WARNING, GRAPHIC VIDEO:
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-friedrich/whistleblower-suppression_b_2559769.html">Ag Gag laws</a> are the government's attempt to hide what goes on behind the closed doors of a factory farms. You don't have to be an animal rights activist to get angry about this. If you eat meat, shouldn't it make you mad that the government doesn't want you to see how your food is produced? Thanks to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/food-integrity-campaign/food-industry-whistleblower-laws_b_2593152.html">ag gag bills </a>sweeping the country, in many states, it is illegal to film or take photographs of what goes on inside factory farms. The reason? The government is afraid of what might be discovered.
The image you see here, provided by <a href="www.mercyforanimals.org">Mercy For Animals</a>, is just a small snapshot of the disgusting conditions animals are forced to endure at factory farms. Because of the filth, the animals are given antibiotics to prevent disease (which doesn't really work). Often, antibiotics are also given to promote unnatural growth. This in turn is making human illness harder to treat because of new strains of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/16/factory-farms-antibiotic-resistance-doctors_n_928140.html">antibiotic-resistant bacteria.</a>
According to a report done by the Humane Society entitled <a href="http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/animalwelfare/HSI--The%20Impact%20of%20Industrialized%20Animal%20Agriculture%20on%20World%20Hunger.pdf">"The Impact of Industrialized Animal Agriculture On World Hunger,"</a> nearly 80 percent of the world's soybeans and up to 50 percent of the world's corn are fed to animals killed for meat instead of directly to humans. Animal agriculture is inefficient from a world hunger perspective because we are feeding our livestock food that could be used for humans.
Many people don't realize that animal agriculture is one of the worst industries from a worker health perspective. <a href="http://www.osha.gov/archive/SLTC/agriculturaloperations/recognition.html">According to OSHA,</a> hazards from factory farming jobs can include everything from chronic pain to cardiovascular illness and death. Many of the workers are also undocumented, leading to a situation in which they are fearful of reporting their illness or injury and therefore do not receive treatment. <a href="http://www.hrw.org/reports/2005/usa0105/usa0105.pdf">Human Rights Watch</a> calls worker conditions in factory farms "systematic human rights abuses."
Because of the unsanitary conditions in factory farms, they are virtual breeding grounds for <a href="http://www.motherearthnews.com/Natural-Health/Meat-Poultry-Health-Risk.aspx#axzz2NwosyaGs">harmful diseases</a>. Bird flu, swine flu and mad cow disease are just <a href="http://www.hsi.org/issues/flu/">some of the risks</a> posed to humans from industrialized animal agriculture.
A "downed cow" is a cow too sick or injured to walk. Downed cows are <a href="http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/how-you-can-help-change-usda-policy-on-sick-and-injured-animals/">not supposed to be slaughtered for human consumption</a> but are often kicked, prodded, and beaten to get them to slaughter anyway.
Factory farming uses up precious natural resources. Animal agriculture <a href="http://awellfedworld.org/issues/environmentalresources">contributes</a> to deforestation and degrades the land it does use. Meat production also wastes water. In fact, <a href="http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/meat-wastes-natural-resources.aspx"> it takes 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat, but just 25 gallons to produce 1 pound of wheat.
Would you want to eat pork from this farm? If pigs on our factory farms are turning green and being dumped into buckets (image courtesy of <a href="www.mercyforanimals.org">Mercy For Animals</a>), then it means our current methods aren't working. You don't have to be a vegetarian to understand that conditions like these are harmful to everyone: the animals, people and the environment.
Systematic Animal Rights Abuses
It's no secret that animals we eat have to be killed to get to our plates. What is a secret is the <a href="http://www.aspca.org/fight-animal-cruelty/farm-animal-cruelty/">systematic animal rights abuses</a> that go on at factory farms worldwide. There are <a href="http://www.aspca.org/Fight-Animal-Cruelty/farm-animal-cruelty/legal-protections-for-farm-animals"> very few laws</a> to protect the welfare of factory farmed animals as it is, but it's all too common to see workers <a href="http://www.butterballabuse.com/">kicking, punching, stomping on</a> or otherwise abusing animals unnecessarily.
This is called a <a href="http://www.mercyforanimals.org/hatchery/photo-gallery.asp">macerator</a>. It's a machine that grinds up living baby chicks that are no longer of use to the animal agriculture industry. Even for omnivores, do we really believe the best way to dispose of animals is the cruelest way imaginable? This is a common practice at factory farms.
Animal Living Conditions
In<a href="http://www.mercyforanimals.org/pigabuse/"> gestation crates</a>, pigs are confined to live their whole lives in what is essentially a box. They can not turn around or take more than a step or two forward or backwards. Imagine living your whole life standing up, with your arms at your sides and not being able to do any of the activities that feel natural to you. Welcome to a factory farmed pig's existence. Pigs aren't alone in their suffering, hens suffer their whole lives in <a href="http://www.mercyforanimals.org/ohiofresheggs/what_the_experts_say.asp">battery cages. </a>
Impact On Climate Change
According to the <a href="http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.HTM">United Nations</a>, the livestock sector contributes 18 percent globally to greenhouse gas emissions. Every one should be angry about the impact factory farming has on our environment.
The government <a href="http://grist.org/article/stop-the-environmental-subsidy-for-factory-farms/">provides gigantic subsidies</a> for animal agriculture industries like beef, pork and poultry farms. <a href="http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/09/why-a-big-mac-costs-less-than-a-salad/">A chart</a> created by the New York Times in 2010 shows the difference between the recommendations Americans are supposed to heed for personal nutrition and the industries which get the highest federal subsidies. While whole foods like vegetables and grains are supposed to be at the heart of our diet, the meat and dairy industries receive nearly three-quarters of the total amount of money available for federal agriculture. Shouldn't we be asking why?
Learn More & Get Involved
Regardless of what diet you choose, factory farming is bad for everyone. To learn more about how to get involved visit <a href="http://www.mercyforanimals.org">Mercy For Animals</a>.