World Cultures lesson on meat industry turns stomach

Blood, guts and gore.

No, we’re not describing a horror movie. These words describe the documentary Media sophomores viewed in Frank Knight’s World Cultures class on Nov. 19 and 20. The film in question was “Modern Meat,” produced by the PBS show Frontline. As the name implies, the movie was about meat, specifically how meat is produced in modern times. Knight’s fourth period class was interviewed while they viewed the movie. “[I wanted to] tie in industrialization with mass-producing meat,” said Knight when asked what he hoped to accomplish by showing the film. “Before the Industrial Revolution, [people] were farmers for themselves, but the revolution changed that. [I wanted to show] the bad things that happen when you produce [for] the masses.”

“Bad things” definitely happened. The film showed the carelessness in which meat factory employees handled the meat. When an employee dropped a piece of meat on the floor, they simply grabbed it or kicked it with their feet back onto the conveyor belt.

“It’s outrageous how the meat packers treat the cows,” said student Jasmine Gaines when she saw the employee handling the meat. “The slaughterhouses don’t even care about the meat.”

The film pointed out that producing meat for the masses is like opening a door for diseases like E. Coli and salmonella. Not only is meat poorly managed in factories, but it’s imported from all over the world, and it’s not just cow meat; a variety of animals, including sheep and pigs, are ground together with cow meat to produce hot dogs, ground beef and hamburger patties. One single factory can have meat from all over the nation and overseas, increasing the chance of contamination and making it harder to track down where the tainted meat came from.

The film told of how in 1993, the fast good chain Jack in the Box served contaminated patties in burgers in restaurant in the West, sickening 700 people, mostly children. Students watched as the children’s parents sobbed and explained how their children’s lungs, kidneys and heart had failed.

“It was disgusting to see how hamburgers are full of diseases,” said student Jazmin Garcia.