Tuesday, March 16, 2010
In March of 2009, new rules from the USDA went into effect which ban “downed” cattle from being slaughtered for human consumption. The move was motivated by an effort to protect the human food supply from diseased animals, and to encourage the humane treatment of animals going to slaughter. Both Congress and the USDA have received significant and undeniable evidence that workers in slaughter facilities often do everything they can, including using forklifts, chains, and other cruel practices, to get downed animals all the way through the processing line. This is because downed animals that don’t make it to slaughter represent a financial loss to livestock producers. Animal Law Clinic Director Kathy Hessler said, “The downed cattle ban, however, is only one small step in the right direction. Now that the USDA has recognized cattle can and do suffer and human heath is seriously compromised by these practices, it’s time the USDA recognizes the same truths for pigs, goats, sheep, and other livestock.” For this reason, the Animal Law Clinic filed a petition on behalf of Farm Sanctuary, the nation's leading farm animal protection organization, to urge the USDA to extend the protections now offered to downed cattle to pigs, goats, sheep, and other livestock. Read more and find out how to contact Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to urge the expansion of downed animal protections.