Lungfish, and sick cows

Well, I’ve had The Cough for long enough that it needs a name: Its name is now “lungfish.”

In other news, the biggest meat recall in history is underway. 145 MILLION pounds of beef. That’s 1.45E8 for the geeks in the crowd. At between 500 and 800 pounds of meat (usable) per cow, that’s between 181,000 and 290,000 individual animals. If my high school had been in the business of graduating cows, instead of people, that’s between 300 and 400 graduating classes.

The recall by the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company, based in Chino, Calif., comes after a widening animal-abuse scandal that started after the Humane Society of the United States distributed an undercover video on Jan. 30 that showed workers kicking sick cows and using forklifts to force them to walk.

You’ll be happy to know that there is already a term of art for cows too sick to walk, unassisted, into the slaughter chamber. It’s “downer” cows. I would love to believe that this is a subtle play on the fact that it’s a real downer to read about this crap … but I suspect not.

Cows too sick to walk, who had to be kicked and prodded to the slaughter. Yummy? You like that slightly char-broiled taste?

Anyway, there’s nothing to worry about:

“The great majority has probably been consumed,” said Dr. Richard Raymond, the Agriculture Department’s under secretary for food safety.

Yup. You already ate it. Please return to your regularly scheduled activities.

It was news almost exactly like this that pushed me into my first flirtation with vegetarianism.

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