Sep 162010
Authors: Robyn Scherer

Last Sunday the Video Music Awards were held, and Lady Gaga was the most nominated artist with 13. She took home awards in all the major categories, including the coveted “Video of the Year” for her “Bad Romance” video. This, however, is not what had people talking.

As soon as it was announced Gaga had won, people across America got quite a shock. Gaga took the stage in a meat dress, complete with hat and purse. When she accepted the award from Cher, she said, “I never thought I’d be asking Cher to hold my meat purse.”

Gaga had her reasons for this dress, and they were well thought out. “If we don’t stand up for what we believe in, we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re gonna have as much rights as the meat on our bones.” This was in response to the discharged soldiers that she brought, who were discharged for being gay or lesbian.

For me, it also represents something else. Many celebrities flock to organizations like PETA or HSUS and promote vegetarianism without really looking at the meat industry. Both of these organizations are guilty of using emotion to reel people in instead of presenting the real facts.

“No matter how beautifully it is presented, flesh from a tortured animal is flesh from a tortured animal,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Meat represents bloody violence and suffering, so if that’s the look they were going for, they achieved it.”

This statement could not be more inaccurate. Animals that are used for meat are treated incredibly humanely and are not for even one minute tortured. Every major processing facility has USDA inspectors who are responsible for monitoring everything in the processing facility.

In fact, USDA has an entire division, the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, that monitors animal handling and humane treatment. In-house plant audits plus government supervision by the USDA continuously monitors humane treatment.

Facilities that have violations are shut down immediately, and this can be for something as small as one worker tapping an animal a little too hard. I promise you I was spanked harder as a child than these animals are touched.

When these facilities shut down, they lose money. If for only that reason, these companies are motivated to treat animals humanely. Most of them, however, do it because it is the right thing to do, not because they are profit motivated.

I know there are a lot of people who do not agree with me, and I challenge you to go visit a meat processing facility before you try to prove me wrong. You will find that what I’m saying is correct and that these animals are not tortured.

Many of the working chutes used in processing facilities were designed by Temple Grandin, a professor at CSU. She is respected worldwide, and her facilities make proper animal handling the easy thing to do.

Lady Gaga made a statement in more than one way on Sunday night. Just know that what PETA says and what is reality is another issue and that those who work in the meat processing industry treat animals humanely because it is the right thing to do, not because they have to.

Robyn Scherer is a graduate student studying integrated resource management. Her column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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