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August 23, 2012 | By Tiffany Hsu, This post has been updated. See note below.
In-N-Out, McDonald's Corp., Jack in the Box, Burger King and other chains quickly cut ties with Central Valley Meat Co. this week after undercover footage from an animal welfare group showed cows at the California slaughterhouse seemingly tortured and otherwise mistreated. McDonald's said the percentage of its meat that came from the Central Valley slaughterhouse was in “the low single digits.” "Upon learning about USDA's decision to suspend CVM, we took immediate action and suspended supply from this facility, pending further investigation,” the hamburger giant said in a statement.
August 22, 2012 | By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
Federal officials shuttered a Central California slaughterhouse after they concluded that cattle had been subjected to inhumane treatment but said Tuesday they had seen nothing to indicate that the company had compromised the safety of the public's food supply. The U.S. Department of Agriculture temporarily closed Hanford-based Central Valley Meat Co. after reviewing video footage from the animal rights group Compassion Over Killing, which said it had captured images of torture and intentional cruelty to cows.
August 19, 2012 | By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times
HUNTINGTON LAKE, Calif. - Comanche has one pale blue eye, one deep brown and a prancing gait that has cowboy Morgan Austin suspecting this mystery horse once paraded around an arena. Until two weeks ago, Comanche wouldn't let anyone in the saddle. It took Morgan, 17, two months of talking to him "real quiet-like," slipping on a saddle blanket, then the saddle, before he could hoist his own lanky frame onto the brown-and-white quarter horse. Now, on a day when the sky is pale with heat and ragged breaths of wind kick up thick, sticky dust, Comanche and Morgan lead the way down a boulder-strewn Sierra trail.
August 14, 2012
Re "French gag on ban of foie gras in California," Aug. 11 The ban on foie gras in California is a bit comical and so very American in its hypocrisy. Yes, ducks and geese are force-fed grain to grow their livers, but foie gras is not an everyday American food. It is expensive and uncommon. I challenge the people who worked so hard to ban foie gras in California to visit the beef, chicken, pork, egg and milk "factories" in our state. Perhaps these activists should put their energy toward banning the incredibly inhumane treatment of these animals, which are consumed daily by most Americans.
March 26, 2012 | By Rebecca Keegan, Los Angeles Times
Children murder one another in a multitude of gruesome and memorable ways in "The Hunger Games," deploying spears, arrows, rocks, venomous wasps, mutant wolves and their bare hands in a televised gladiatorial death match. The juvenile slaughterfest depicted in the film and its source material, Suzanne Collins' trilogy of bestselling young adult novels, may give audiences (particularly parents) pause — is this what contemporary entertainment has come to? But violence committed by and against children has a long, grisly tradition in literature — as an allegory for adult cruelty, a representation of the emotional volatility of adolescence and a tension-raiser for audiences.
January 26, 2012 | By Dean Kuipers
The Florida Legislature has dropped a controversial provision that would have made it a crime to photograph or videotape on agricultural facilities without consent. We have reported previously on this blog that several states have attempted to thwart whistle-blowers and animal rights activists by making it a crime to record images on a farm, lab or other animal enterprise. Of course, many other actions such as trespassing, removing animals and other acts are already illegal. Florida was taking a lead in this push, but in the last few days its legislature has removed the image collection language - derisively called an “ag gag” provision by activists - from state House Bill 1021 and state Senate Bill 1184.
December 18, 2011 | By Jay Kirk
In 1882, P.T. Barnum paid $10,000 to have Jumbo, the world's most famous elephant, shackled like Houdini, stuffed into a crate and sailed across the ocean to New York City. Barnum got Jumbo on the cheap because — unknown to him but well known to Jumbo's keepers at the London Zoo — the elephant had gone bonkers. Jumbo had become such a hazard that his owners feared for the safety of the many children who took rides on his back. Alumni of such rides included an asthmatic Teddy Roosevelt, who, perhaps traumatized by the experience, would later go on to kill four elephants in less than five minutes while on safari in British East Africa.
December 17, 2011 | By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
The case of a former city employee accused of treating dogs inhumanely at Los Angeles' West Valley animal shelter in Chatsworth is being referred to prosecutors for review, the head of the animal services agency said Friday. Brenda Barnette told The Times earlier this week that she had not considered a criminal referral for Manuel Boado, 64. He allegedly failed to sedate dogs before euthanizing them, placed them near other dead animals and inserted the euthanizing needle into their jugular veins during euthanasia, which is considered more painful than other locations.
August 7, 2011 | By Irene Lacher, For the Los Angeles Times
Maggie Nelson, a poet and faculty member of California Institute of the Arts' School of Critical Studies, takes on a sometimes disturbing offshoot of 20th-century avant-garde culture in her new book, "The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning" (W. W. Norton & Co.). What is the art of cruelty? The question of cruelty in art is not the same question necessarily — it can be, but it's not always the same question — of what cruelty is in life, because if you presume cruelty has an object, like you're being cruel to somebody or something, the question of who a piece of art might be cruel to if it's just depicting something that makes you think, "Wow, that's a really cruel thing," the question hasn't really been answered.
July 24, 2011 | By Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times
The Art of Cruelty A Reckoning Maggie Nelson W.W. Norton: 304 pp., $24.95 From a movie billboard in her Los Angeles neighborhood to the Italian Futurists, Maggie Nelson swings her lively gaze across a century's worth of art and culture in "The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning. " The starting point for this study of violence and art is Antonin Artaud, the French playwright behind the "theatre of cruelty" who wrote that cruelty in art "signifies rigor, implacable intention and decision, irreversible and absolute determination.
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