Each year, Americans consume billions of animals for food, and most are likely oblivious to the horrendous suffering that the creatures involved endure.
Yes, there have been plenty of videos over the years showing horrific animal cruelty, but these videos are often just one link in a never-ending chain of tragedies that most people worry about every day.
Global climate change. The systematic murder of the world's rainforests. Everything the GOP ever does. It's all part of an enormous slew of problems that make people weary, and perhaps a little less human.
Then of course, there are those who believe that animals were placed here to serve people's needs, to do their bidding.
The people in this graphic and disturbing undercover video, filmed at Ontario Livestock sales, in California, clearly do not care about the animals they are sending to their deaths. Perhaps this is what they believe.
The organization Mercy for Animals, like so many before them, sent an investigator undercover. Using a pin hole camera that could be easily hidden, the investigator shot video footage over a period of 7 weeks, from January 31 to March 6th of this year, according to The San Bernardino Sun.
Now people are paying attention. The video showed:
Employees kicking pigs in the face, stomping on them, dragging goats by their ears, beating sheep and goats, and tossing animals on to concrete floors.
In one scene, an employee beats an emu with a baton. Are people eating emu meat in this country? If they are, this is selfish and completely ridiculous.
In other scenes, animals that are unable to walk are left to suffer and die, with no food or water or veterinary care of any sort.
In industry parlance, these animals are known as "downed" animals.
In California, it's illegal to sell or hold downed animals that are too sick or injured to walk. Yet, time and again, here these people were--doing just that, the video showed.
These animals are more likely to carry diseases that may threaten public health should they enter the human food supply, Mercy for Animals reported.
Time for another round of Mad Cow disease, perhaps? After all, a dairy cow in California tested positive for the disease in April, according to this.
Last month, the person who went undercover and filmed the video tipped off officials at the Inland Valley Humane Society. It provided the necessary evidence for the San Bernardino County District Attorney's office to charge the property owner with cruelty to animals, according to the article.
Horacio Santorsola, 73, the owner of the Ontario Livestock Auction and 7 of his employees face 21 counts of animal cruelty. They must appear in court on July 20th. If convicted, they face a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
At a press conference held at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, members of the organization and officials from the Inland Valley Humane Society gathered to brief the press.
Currently, there are no federal laws that protect livestock at factory farms or at livestock auctions, Nathan Runkle, Executive Director of the non-profit told the Sun.
Mercy for Animals and officials at the Inland Valley Humane Society aim to change that.
The Humane Society would like to shut the business down or have new regulations enforced, Sylvia Lemus, an officer with the Society told the Sun.
After viewing hours of footage she visited the facility for 7 hours and was finally granted access to the back of the building, something which Humane Society officials were blocked from doing in the past. While there, she found animals that were injured and sick, and euthanized 3 goats that were suffering.
In an interesting twist, MFA had selected the Ontario location at random. No one at MFA knew that there were long-standing complaints of abuse.
Complaints about selling sick animals and mistreating livestock poured in over the years, but Society officials were unable to do much, Lemus told The Sun.
"When we respond we are in uniform, and we're not able to see what the undercover agent saw," Lemus said.
It's often up to investigators for non-profit organizations to act as watchdogs for the animals, Runkle said.
"This case graphically illustrates that livestock auctions are incapable of self-regulation. This livestock agency should be shut down immediately on grounds of animal abuse," Runkle said in the article.
Stricter state and federal laws would change that scenario. It would serve as a definite deterrent to animal cruelty, he noted.
Runkle said he hopes the public will become more involved and contact their legislators and encourage them to create federal and state legislation that would put an end to cruelty and abuse.
Sadly, these houses of horrors auction houses are all too common. In over 20 undercover investigations that MFA has conducted in the past decade, these same issues crop up repeatedly, Runkle said.
"Unfortunately, the cruel and inhumane conditions this investigation uncovered are not isolated," Runkle said. "In fact, they run rampant in livestock facilities nationwide."
Many people, perhaps because of negative influence by too much television, think of large, predatory animals such as lions or tigers, as savage and cruel. Perhaps these people need to turn these thoughts inward and remember that to be human is to also be an animal.