The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recalled 143 million pounds of beef from a California slaughterhouse, citing concerns that the company may be mistreating the cows on its payroll.
The company, Beefy Slaughterhouse & Gifts, remains under investigation by USDA officials.
Shirley Thompson, one of the cows in question, had this to say about the company policies of her longtime employer, Beefy Slaughterhouse & Gifts: "I've been twice docked this week for 'improper attire'," the hefty middle-aged woman insisted, "they keep telling me I look too dowdy, that I have to 'smarten up' or risk being fired. I ask you, if that's the new company rule; shouldn't they pay for our clothing costs?"
Company spokesmen uniformly deny that they've instituted a dress code or weight limit, but rumors abound, made all the more persistent because the USDA has not yet clarified what they mean by 'mistreatment'.
Still, it appears that the cows in question are aware of the problem, though whether they will cave under alleged company pressure to 'trim down and dress up' is not yet clear.
Local store outlets of the Gap and Laura Ashley report higher than average sales in their larger sizes.
In one particularly disturbing instance, Laura Ashley manager Tiffany Jones (age 24, size 6), tells of having to phone in a large 'rush' backorder for an especially popular dress in size 24, not a size they normally carry. She adds that she is dreading delivery, unsure whether the store's lone stock boy can offload such a heavy box.
Clerks in the Gap have reportedly removed their previously popular display manikins and replaced them with much wider, frumpier models.
Tempers were running high this morning, even before the USDA issued its Beefy & Gifts recall, effectively shutting down the picturesque slaughterhouse until Friday, when the next surprise USDA inspection is slated.
Many question the wisdom of instituting a dress code that includes expensive 'outfits' and high-heeled pumps on a gore-filled factory assemblyline where animals are daily hacked to bloody pieces to make Happy Meals and Double Cheeseburgers.
Meat industry expert, Professor Elsie of Chickpea University, suggests that concerned consumers should buy chicken instead; adding that chicken is a fine substitute for beef, providing equivalent useful calories but without fatty beef byproducts.
But employee Shirley 'The Sledgehammer' Thompson, talking to reporters near the company's well-stocked lounge refrigerator, suggests a deeper plot, "Has it occurred to anyone else that what they're really saying is that we're all just too damn fat?"
Company spokesmen could not be reached for comment.
Tragic Rabbit, USA Tomorrow, Los Angeles