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Beef Recall Response

Written by PETA | February 20, 2008

Many of you have asked what PETA’s response is to the recent recall of 143 million pounds of beef. Well, we’re doing a mass mailing of our “Vegetarian Starter Kit,” of course!

We’ve sent copies of our “Vegetarian Starter Kit” to school boards across the country and urged them to add more vegetarian options to school cafeteria menus. But we’re not simply saying that vegetarian options should replace the tainted beef. Oh, no. Vegetarian options should replace all beef because of beef’s dangerous levels of saturated fat and cholesterol, which can be an even bigger threat to human health than E. coli and salmonella.

Beef and other animal products have been conclusively linked to America’s top killers: heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and cancer. Meat-eaters are 10 times more likely than vegetarians to suffer from heart disease, and a low-fat vegetarian diet has been proved to reverse heart disease.

PETA’s Lindsay Rajt summed it up nicely by saying, “The diseases we may catch from downed cows are far less likely to kill us than the fat and cholesterol we get from their flesh. The best way to protect the health of the nation’s school kids is to encourage them to eat more vegetarian foods.”

For more details on the connection between your health and eating meat, please check out the health section of


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  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Rojo It’s only good for two things anyway lol. Christopher We belong to the family Hominidae as do chimpanzees and the mainly herbivorous orangutans and gorillas. A gorilla’s DNA is 9798 identical to that of a human. So there is certainly an antecedent for a human to follow a vegetarian or nearvegetarian diet.

  • rojo says:

    mike Q disease comes from somewhere and if it is transmissable then undoubtably close conditions will aid the spread within a feedlot. It’s why they have quarantine areas and protocols. Space per head is a difficult one and the feedlots I’ve seen don’t have such cramped conditions. In Aust the minimum space per beast is 10m2 or about 100sqft for feedlot approvals. You’re pretty presumptious about my bedroom size. Sadly accurate though.

  • Christopher Cochran MD says:

    Terry Our closest related ape relative the chimpanzee is not a vegetarian. We have a gut that is the perfect size for an omnivorous diet. The meats that we eat are unhealthy because they are over fed bad grains such as corn. Humans need a diet of mostly unprocessed vegetable products with good lean meat sources. I haven’t read any Chinese studies lately but given their health records I wouldn’t lend much credence to any research they do. Only a few months earlier everyone here was bashing China due to a dismal animal abuse record. Thanks for putting a little more effort into your post your “rederick” sound much more earnest.

  • Michele says:

    Terry don’t worry about what Dr. C tells you. He is known for these types of comments.

  • terry says:

    Dr. Cochran First off I want to thank you for your criticism of my grammer and spelling. As for the other stuff you and I disagree. Anyway if anyone is interested and Dr. I think you may find this book really fascinating. The China Study is probably the best book I have ever read on the health problems eating meat and dairy products cause humans. It is concerning a 30 year study by doctors and scientists. Everyone should read this book. Anyway choosing not to eat meat is an ethical one for me. And to Justin Davis I agree with you 100 . Is my spelling and grammer ok doc.?

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Rojo There is a big difference between being sick and dying. Downers are of course nonambulatory. “Detailed statistics from the United Kingdom show that approximately 1 of the national herd are considered downer cows. Given that the U.S. herd size was 97 million in 2002 this would suggest that there were 970000 downer cattle.” If 1 of schoolchildren died or were likewise incapacitated it would be a national scandal. In a confined feedlot system each animal may have as little as 20 square feet. That’s like 7 or 8 almost fullgrown steers in your bedroom. That kind of overcrowding is bound to exacerbate disease.

  • Sara says:

    Did you see the cartoon in NYT mocking the meat recall and cruelty to animals. Done in poor taste.

  • Sara says:

    Did you see the cartoon in yesterday’s 22408 New York Times regarding the beef scare. Done in very poor taste.

  • Lori Cater says:

    No Kelly I wasn’t joking! sorry I’m not as well informed as you. Hope when you were learning there were people like you to help you along not. I never said anything about there ever being “to many” animals of any kind. If you are going to respond to someone’s post at least have your facts right. All I said was that I didn’t want them to become extinct. If they don’t breed on their own and we don’t eat them then they will become extinct. Kelly are you also against hunting?



  • rojo says:

    John I guess it’s along the same lines as humans who get sick or injured. It just happens. Sorry animals don’t grow up sick under factory conditions that would indeed be contrary to profitability. Sheer numbers mean disease will affect a proportion of animals. Just like a child coming home from school with the flu doesn’t mean every child has it.

  • Ana says:

    Brandon I totally agree with your February 22 426 comment. The animals get no respect as they are being raised in filthy deplorable and cruel conditions on factory farms. The extreme violence and pain endured as they are being slaughtered certainly deserves no respect. A respectful and nonviolent choice is to go vegan.

  • erika says:

    Well…if the people didn’t eat the damned meat we wouldn’t have this problem would we? I went veggie in October and I haven’t regreted it at all. All the people i know are like “How can you not eat meat? That veggie stuff is DISGUSTING!” And I am just like “Well if I were to eat meat again I would feel as though I am eating my cat my dog my horse or my rabbit. That’s how i can can avoid meat. You should try it sometime. You’ll definatley benefit from it.” And they won’t try it. I think that if we got the word out about the health and ethical reasons to go vegan then more people would try it.

  • John Carbonaro says:

    I didn’t hear any news people asking the question Why were these cows sick and “downed”? The short answer is that these animals grow up sick under factory conditions. The fact of their condition their still being led to slaughter easily refutes the industry’s assertion that proper animal care is important to productionprofit.

  • b says:

    if this doesnt turn pple veg idk what will…. lmfao

  • Brandon Becker says:

    Justin Davis I agree we keep the personal insults to a minimum. We need to remember that we are all socialized in a speciesist culture that approves of using other animals for nearly any purpose especially as food. We must deprogram ourselves and break down the barriers that cause us to see animals as objects rather than subjects. However this does NOT mean we should “respect” anyone’s decision to continue to consume the products of violence flesh milk and eggs. All sentient beings feel pain and value their lives. Considering that humans can be healthy on a 100 plantbased diet there is no reason to continue to support these practices. We have a choice the animals don’t. Go vegan.

  • M.C. Locke says:

    Hi everyone! I must say I am so pleased to see the teenagers and preteens getting involved already. It makes me feel there’s a little more hope for the future generations. I have a 10 year old stepdaughter who has know since I came into her life at four that I am 100 against circuses rodeos and any type of animal exploitation including Sea world and even certain zoos out there with animal shows. I now have two young daughters of my own and they will never go to a circus or County fair and ride an Elephant Camel or one of those ponies they have chained to a wheel all day in the dead of summer going in circles while parent’s encourage this nonsense and pay $5 to $10 while their kids takes an innocent joy ride at the expense of the animal. A friend of mine told me she was taking her girls to the circus and I said “no your NOT!” She asked me why and I filled her inbox with one video after another mostly on Elephants which are my heartand she called me back sobbing. It seems like the general public thinks all this stuff has been long since rectified. IT HASN’T! I am big on making sure all the products in my home have not been tested on animals and let me tell you it’s slim pickings! After looking at some of the Elephant videoes I forwarded them out to everyone I knew but I never get a response when I do this………..WHY? Do they even look OR do they roll their eyes and delete?? I made my 10 year old stepdaughter watch some videos just to be an advocate and maybe spread the word to her friends. If either of my daughters ever gave me a hard time about not being able to go to the circus or Sea World they would be getting an eye full too! I am proud to announce……….a bill was passed in my state of CT the first state to do this BTW making Bull hooks used to train Elephants Illegal! The “torture tents”as I call them i.e. circus doesn’t come here now because they refuse to stop using them. Well one state down 50+ more to go! M.C. Locke

  • sandra dickerson says:

    The general public has no idea of the tortureterror and horrific death these animals endure.It should be mandatory for meat eaters to watch at least one undercover video! I tell my friends its the LEAST they can do.

  • Champagne says:

    I eat dairy but I prefer soy milk to cow’s milk and I have not eaten meat since 1993. The latest in beef recalls is not a shock to me I have been waiting for something like this to happen since the mad cow epidemic in the 1990s. I do eat seafood occasionally for the last couple of years but I have not eaten meat or poultry in 15 years and have lived a much healthier life postveggie life. I think it’s important for people to understand nonGMO soy products are the only ones they should consume and if they eat dairy to buy responsibly run small organic farm dairy or European dairy foods not mainstream American dairy manufacturers. And fyi all the animal rights activists who wear leather and then throw paint at people who wear fur some of these activists are meat eaters btw are enormous hypocrites in my opinion. I’m just sayin….

  • Justin Davis says:

    I am a vegetarian myself been for 9 years. I enjoy reading the blogs and more importantly the comments. This is where it gets downright gritty and to the point. This is where I feel as if I should make a comment for once. I see quite a lot of fighting in these entries and the ones that make the harsh comments are those who are offended by what meateaters have to say. “I hope your canines fall out.” That really goes to show the maturity of some people. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not everyone can take to heart of anothers opinion. That’s what is so sad about most people is that they can’t learn to get along. Meat eaters will ALWAYS exist. So will veggies. Let’s learn to get along and quit acting like children. I mean we are all adults here and just learn to respect a meat eaters decision. Vice versa with a vegetarianvegan.

  • Dana Everett says:

    Hello I am vegan. common sense.. do we all need any forms of meat to consume? NO! There are perfectly good natural things that people can enjoy without hurting the animals. They have done nothing wrong leave them alone. Why should it be different than the treatment of humans. How would that affect us if humans were treated in such a way as the animals are? Think about it. We are living creatures too. Put yourself in their places. Would you really want to go through what they do?? Duh?

  • katie says:

    to all the angry carnivores…. your questions are not new questions. they have been asked hundreds and hundreds of times and answered and reanswered by many of us weirdo animal lovers. you’ve all posed some really good questions. we think we’ve answered them really well too! so go ahead and continue asking us “the hard questions”. but take it a step further and explore peta’s website and the animal liberation front’s website and really educate yourselves if you are serious about finding answers. the answers are out there. from a midwestern “heartland” animal lover

  • Christopher Cochran MD says:

    As an endoscopist I don’t think people can eat too much fiber fiber causes constipation? That’s original at least!! However in my other duties as an internist I battle people’s addiction to simple carbohydrates as well. I still believe corn is the most insidious and damaging food product today. Not just as a human food product but as an animal food as well. A vegan diet can be quite healthy if chosen well just like an omnivorous diet. Courtney Since the agricultural revolution humans have evolved very little. The one thing that some did evolve to do was continue to digest dairy after infancy. As far as sweeping changes in human physiology as selected by natural selection to an obligate herbivorous body no such luck. Terry Your knowledge of human anatomy and physiology are almost as bad as your spelling and grammar.

  • Kathleen in NYS says:

    These comments are terrific especially the ones from students. You know everyone of you in public schools in our country has a Board of Education and that board is meant to represent every person in your school district! Nearly all boards allow Public Comment. Check your school’s website and GO TO A SCHOOL BOARD MEETING. Tell them what you think about the quality of the meals lack of healthy options you can say the word vegan or leave it generic and ask too if any irradiated foods are used in meals. That will give them “food for thought”! Believe me they are aware of the recall by now but the public needs to follow up with them all over the country by going to those school board meetings. The recall is NOT their faultand blaming them is misplaced. But if every school board in this country were asked politely to write to their Senators and Representatives in the House of Rep in re to The Farm Animal Stewardship Purchasing Act HR 1726 the Downed Animal Protection Act s 394 and HR 661 then maybe Congress would not be able to sweep this carcass under the rug. Ask them politely to write to their Congressman and then to also provide you with a copy of their letter. Your principal will be there too so see if any of the administrators are willing to meet with one or two students to talk about improving healthy options along with the Food Service Director. Hey it could work if you try!

  • caitlin says:

    terri and katie i was about to write a bunch of stuff but then i read what you wrote and i ONE HUNDRED PERCENT AGREE! you guys are totally right. i dont get why this cow recall is in the papers when it happens all the time and what about those other animals being slaughtered? and cody it is still wrong to eat innocent animals. oh and smoky hope your canines fall out! and matt you are totally right! thanks PETA! you guys rock!!

  • Warwak says:

    This is the impossible to find list of State agencies that track food shipments. They will tell you if your school has been supplied with beef from Westland. httpinslide.comagencies.htm

  • kelly says:

    Lori are you joking? These animals don’t breed naturally. Farmers use artificial insemination. If fewer people ate meat fewer animals would be bred. End of story. There would never be “too many.”

  • Lori Cater says:

    Brandon Thank you for explaining in a nice way. I’m new to this and just learning. I have always been an animal lover but I’m trying to extend that to action. From what you have said I gather that eventually these animals would just become extinct. If I have misunderstood please correct me. I realize that the whole world will not become veggens overnight or possibly ever. I was just wondering what the plan was. I don’t like the idea of anymore animals becoming extinct and at the same time I don’t want them to be tortured and abused either. I know I want to get involved I’m just not sure in what way. Thanks for being nice!

  • rathernotsay says:

    Meat is a child induced taste? Really? I hunt and my grandparents farm. I’ve seen animals humanely killed for their products as long as I can remember. It never turned me off meat as a child rather it instilled me with a healthy respect for animals and where my food comes from. I have no qualms with vegans and vegetarians but I enjoy meat preferably free range organic or from my grandparent’s farm and I will continue eating it.

  • diane field says:

    I’ve strugled w my meat diet for years. After seeing a pig jump out of a scalding tank in a Peta video i gave up meat for 2 months. I ate it again but always felt ashamed to call myself an animal person and then eat them. I want to extend a huge Thank you to Westland Meat for making my decision to swear off meat forever easier. I have vowed to change my lifestyle…i can’t contribute to this industry anymore and live wmyself. Even more importantly I will absolutely NOT raise my 10 month old son on meat. I am at a HUGE disadvantage bc my mother brought me up on it and now its hard to give it up. I can catch my son earlybefore he ever develops a taste for it. He wil be raised to be compassionate and NOT think killing other beings is OK.

  • erica says:

    dudes we need to teach the kids or peers about animal cruelty im like 13 and they don’t have veggie options the lunch ladies told me to get a docs note. some kid even slapped a chikin finger in my face. if we teach them now we can stop this ignorant maddness


    meanjean to the contrary vegetarian eating is much healthier i’m now a vegetarian for almost 40 years and i never was ill and my dad is 89! pls read the peta files there is much about this subject! i’m tired to repeat always the same stuff!

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Meanjean According to your fibermenace website “Constipation happens to be the most common digestive complaint in the United States outnumbering all other chronic digestive conditions. According to the American College of Gastroenterology the average American daily diet contains only 1020 grams of fiberthe goal is 3035 gmsday. So if fiber is so evil and currently Americans aren’t getting much anyway what’s causing all the constipation?

  • Terry says:

    I have to comment on Smoky’s rederick on “if we are not suppose to eat meat then why do we have canines. Well MR. Smoky gorrillas have bigger canines that we do and they are strictly VEGATARIAN. And also since we are on the subject carnavours have extremely short intestins as oppose to vegetarians which have extremely long entestins.Due to the fact that there is less absorptions of toxin from the meat in short intestins. You do realize we humans have long intestins don’t you? Have a nice day. PS. I hope your canines fall out.

  • Robert Ornelas says:

    Thank’s to PETA and other self awareness I have been going trough I stoped eating meat and are currently looking for an alternative to dairy since cheese and milk are some of my favorites . Anyways keep up the good work and thanks for making the world a better place for animals . on subjectkids do need to eat vegeterian meals at school if there is one thing schools should be teaching is a life full of a healthy life . Meat eating is a childhood induced taste since our parents since we are little feeds us meat we take it as normal if kids were forced to see how animals are treated and killed I bet you that most kids would chose a life of vegeratianism over eating flesh .

  • meanjean says:

    Vegetarianism is a high carb high fiber diet that is very bad for human health. Pls check out for complete info. If the world went veggie overnite we would all starve as there is not enough good land for growing food crops. Animals eat inedible food which they turn into muscle which we eat as meat. The case is for humane treatment of food animals not for not eating meat.

  • Brandon Becker says:

    Lori The world is not going to go vegan overnight. It’s a matter of supply and demand. The less people demand the flesh and secretions of animals the fewer animals will be bred and killed for these purposes. Since domesticated animals are unable to survive outside of human society we should care for those left to live out their natural lives in our homes like dogs and cats or sanctuaries like cows pigs chickens and cease bringing any more into existence.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Steve Either you’re joking about your post or this is the very first time you’ve visited the PETA website. Cody Have you ever heard of Howard Lyman? He had 7000 head of cattle and now he’s a vegan.

  • Courtney says:

    Dear Smokey You are right about canine teeth…yet if you compare our teeth to set of oh actually CANINE teeth now ours our much duller in comparison. I believe that there was a time B.C. that man had to eat meat in order to survive. But as evolution goes on our bodies have changed to meet environmental and physical changes. I can’t see anyone jumping on a cow and tearing its flesh with its teeth…and that IS what your saying correct? You wouldnt have to cook it to make it tender if that is what we’re genetically composed of doing. As for the Inuits who have to use fur in order to survive…That is EXACTLy order to survive. They dont kill for profit or vanity and it is a very spiritual process. There is no torture or overkill. They are living off the land unlike the factory farms or the fur traders who don’t give a damn about animal life or human life for that matter…Im talking to you factory farms its all about the money. Until we can back to “family farming” where animals have a happy life are able to roam and are not pumped with chemicals there will ALWAYS be abuse and ALWAYS be tainted meat.

  • Lori Cater says:

    I don’t want to appear dumb but if everyone in the world were to become vegetarian what would we do with all the cows chickens pigs etc. Who would want to keep them? They are very expensive to feed and house. They are domosticated not wild. What purpose to the eco system would they have? If they did not serve a purpose such as meat and dairy what would they do? Now I’m in total agreement that these animals are not treated with compassion and there are many practices that should be changed however I’m not sure about the world becoming vegetarians. What would become of these animals?

  • Betty Petrov says:

    I believe that humans need quite the taste of the hellish agony they put animals through when on their way to the slaughter house. Remember people we and animals are on this earth together. Since when do these losers think they are superior to the animal race to torture?

  • Mary Q. Chapin says:

    I spent every summer on my grandparents farm. I saw the respect with which they treated the cows. I have been crying after seeing the inhumane treatment of animals at the slaughter house. This is monstrous. The callousness and inhumanity. And on top of everything the downed cows were sick and their meat when into the food chain. Where the heck is the Food and Drugs Administration in protecting our food supply and in protecting the humane treatment of all animals cows pigs chickens etc.???? Mary Q. Chapin

  • katie says:

    if i could address the media i would say…… shouldn’t cruelty to animals and sickening footage of tortured animals be making the news EVERY NIGHT???? do you think this is really NEW news? where have you been????? PETA and other animal groups have been hard at work for years only to frequently be vilified and mocked. and now this is newsworthy?? how are people so shocked??? these animals are born to die! are we really so naive to think that these gentle cows live grazing through breezy fields until their peaceful slaughter??? GET REAL! quit running your beef and pork ads and tell it like it is. if slaughter houses had glass walls as sir paul mccartney discusses and if cruelty to animals warranted massive recalls of animal flesh then THERE WOULD BE MEAT RECALLS DAILY! THERE WOULD BE NO MEAT! just a little frustrated about this stuff….. just a little.

  • Kristen Merritt says:

    I’m only 12 but the issue of animal cruelty needs to be challenged. Vegitarism is the greatest way to perserve animal life. I used to eat meat. Then I went full on vegan. I feel heathier and I know that somewhere out there animals are now living safely without the fear of being killed to be processed for digestion. Thank you PETA.

  • Kelley says:

    It makes me so angry that my tax dollars 1. subsidize ranchers so they can sell beef at artificially low prices 2. place this crap in schools for kids to eat 3. then to add insult to injury my tax dollars pay for the medical costs associated with an animal based diet when EVERYONE knows what this garbage does to people’s health I held a fundraiser at my company last yearspaghetti and Boca “meat” sauce. Over 100 people ate this. No one noticed they were not eating dead cows. I made less money because I purchased the more expensive per ounce Boca crumbles but who cares! Why should it have to cost more to eat food that is better for our planet our bodies and most importantly the animals???

  • matt ligotti says:

    im a 14 year old became veg about 3 12 months ago i go to highschool and there is only 1 thing on the menu that is vegetarian only on mon wed and fri ! the other days i gotta get only fries and a preztel the kids who go to my school dont care.. besides this one girl i know is veg. so please send out more stuff to the new york schools. ps their meat is like ordered from some crappy place that is looks SO discusting i hated it before i became veg i would agree with being put behind bars but i doubt it will happen. people are too worried about human welfare and other stuff that is nothing nearly as bad as animal suffering. animals can’t defend them selves. people can they could also help defend animals !



  • Brandon Becker says:

    Not only is veganism better for our health but it will spare many animals a life of torture in captivity and a violent end in the slaughterhouse.

  • meg schramm says:

    My husband and I are bikers and on long trips we frequently share the road with live transport trucks and ride past the animals final destinations. My feeling is that if more urban drivers did this they would be more aware of where their dinner is coming from.

  • Lauren says:

    If this doesn’t turn people veg then idk wat will…