Obama Bans Slaughter of Downer Cattle
|February 29, 2008||Posted by russmead under Farm Animals|
Update Mar. 14, 2009: President Barack ObamaÂ announcedÂ in his weekly radio address, "As part of our commitment to public health, our Agriculture Department is closing a loophole in the system to ensure that diseased cows don’t find their way into the food supply".
The loophole allowed the Food Safety Inspection Service toÂ determine on a case by case basis whether animals that have passed inspection but then become non-ambulatory, may be slaughtered and used for human food. Â 9 CFR Â§309.3
A complete ban will also end the cruelty to which these downed animals were subjected such as that revealed by the HSUS undercover investigation at the Chino, California facility of Westland/Hallmark Meat Packing Co.Â For more on the abuse at the Hallmark/Westland facility and the ensuing charges filed, click here.
For more on this read Animal Law Coalition’s earlier reports below.
Update May 20, 2008:Â Â Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer announced today that the USDA plans to reinstate a complete ban on non-ambulatory cattle or so-called "downer cows" from being slaughtered and processed at meat plants.
U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, said, "A strictly enforceable downer ban will eliminate confusion and move the ball forward on food safety and humane standards".
Also, yesterday, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Kerry (D-MA), and Daniel Akaka (D-HI) issued a letter to Secy Schafer stating flatly, "The treatment of the animals in the [HSUS undercover] footage is intolerable." The Senators called for a complete ban on slaughter of downer cattle.
According to the current regulations, the Food Safety Inspection Service ("FSIS")Â will determine on a case by case basis whether animals that have passed inspection but then become non-ambulatory, may be slaughtered and used for human food. Â 9 CFR Â§309.3 Yet, prior to this policy issued in July, 2007,Â the USDA had banned the slaughter of all downer cows for human consumption.Â
Read the original report below for more on the Congressional investigation following the release of video from HSUS’ undercover investigation into the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co.’s gross abuse of cattle. Â
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Original Report: A U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee held a hearing yesterday on the Hallmark/Westland recall of 143 million pounds of meat. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) lambasted Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Edward Schafer, for his agency’sÂ failure to know about the animal abuse at the Chino, California slaughter house.
Sen. Kohl pointed out USDA had five inspectors assigned to the Chino plant, yet it was an employee working undercover for HSUS that captured on video the cruelty of slaughterhouse employees towards downed or non-ambulatory animals.
Sen. Kohl asked the Secretary Schafer, "Why don’t you have a system that uncovers this inhumane treatment of animals?"
Sen. Kohl pointed out what should have been obvious, that the USDA or FSIS inspectors could have installed surveillance cameras or made unannounced visits. Of course, they could simply have looked around. It’s not like Hallmark/Westland was hiding any of this abuse.
The primary focus of the hearing was on the safety of the nation’s meat supply.Â Mr. Schafer denied there was a food safety issue. He insisted it was not necessary to stop the slaughter of all downed cows.
According to the current regulations, the FSIS will determine on a case by case basis whether animals that have passed inspection but then become non-ambulatory, may be slaughtered and used for human food. Â 9 CFR Â§309.3
Call on Secretary Schafer to take seriously the horrific animal abuse at the Chino slaughter house and other facilities. Urge him to require veterinary treatment or humane euthanasia for downed animals, not death in a slaughter house. For more on the abuse at the Hallmark/Westland facility and the ensuing charges filed, click here.
Secy. Edward T. Schafer
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
Also, it’s time to pass the Downed Animal Safety and Protection Act. Click here to read more about this bill and how you can help pass it.
Help pass the bill that would end the worst factory farming abuses for animals used in food products sold to the federal government. Click here for more information.Â Â