Federal: Protect Downed Animals by Supporting the Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act!
S. 394 and H.R. 661—Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act
Sponsor(s): Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI); Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY)
ASPCA Position: Support
Action Needed: Send a letter to your representative and senators now and urge them to support the Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act!
The Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act, S. 394/H.R. 661, would prohibit USDA inspectors at slaughterhouses from approving meat from “downed” (unable to stand or walk) cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules and other equines. The bills would also require immediate humane euthanasia for any downed animal.
Animals sometimes go “down” during their time at slaughter plants. These animals cannot stand or walk on their own due to injury or illness. At the slaughter plants, they may lie for days without food, water or veterinary care, until they are ultimately dragged or pushed to slaughter (often by a bulldozer). Not only are these practices inhumane—often resulting in bruising, torn ligaments, broken bones and dislocated joints—but they pose a major health risk to consumers as well. The risk of tainted meat entering the food chain increases when downed animals are allowed to be slaughtered for human consumption. All six confirmed cases of mad cow disease in North America reportedly were from downed animals. Given these factors, immediate humane euthanasia is the best option for downed animals.
Additionally, prohibiting the approval of meat from downed animals would provide an incentive for meat producers to improve the care of animals in order to prevent them from going down at all. This is currently irrelevant to meat producers, who have an economic incentive to move downed animals through slaughter in order to process the meat for sale.
The Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act would provide much-needed protection for both livestock and human health. Contact your representative and senators now and urge them to support and cosponsor S. 394 and H.R. 661!
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