Yesterday the Riverside (California) Press-Enterprise helped answer a burning question about the undercover slaughterhouse video released on January 30 by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS): If HSUS knew in October 2007 that potentially unsafe meat was entering the U.S. food chain (including the federal school lunch program), why did the animal rights group sit on its footage for more than three months? In sworn testimony before Congress on Tuesday, HSUS’s Dr. Michael Greger blamed the delay (at least three times) on the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office, claiming that “they told us to wait on any kind of public release of this information.” But yesterday the Press-Enterprise exposed this as a lie. And today we’re asking Congress to investigate whether Greger committed perjury. (Click here to read our letter to lawmakers.)
We reached the San Bernardino County DA’s office by telephone yesterday afternoon, and Assistant District Attorney Dennis Christy confirmed the Press-Enterprise report:
I can say unequivocally that we never suggested in any way – in fact, we encouraged the HSUS to cooperate with, provide information to the U.S. Department of Agriculture … [and] we had some difficulty in preparing criminal charges, because of delays in setting up any interview with the Humane Society investigator at which USDA officers would be present.
Read that last sentence again. Not only did HSUS withhold vital public health information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its own reasons, but the group actually impeded a criminal investigation into animal cruelty because it wanted to keep the USDA in the dark.
Because of HSUS’s preference for sensationalism over protecting the public’s health, millions of Americans (including countless children) may have been exposed to meat that wasn’t fit for human consumption. HSUS clearly shares responsibility for this whole sorry episode. We’re looking forward to helping Congress hold them accountable.