|Animals who are too sick or
injured even to stand should not be allowed to enter the
human food chain.
In addition to posing an increased risk for bacterial contamination, there is evidence that some downed animals may be afflicted with a form of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or "Mad Cow Disease"), a disease which has been linked to a fatal human illness (CJD or Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease).
It is impossible to move downed animals humanely, and they are typically pushed with tractors or dragged with chains - inhumane processes which cause injuries ranging from bruises and abrasions, to broken bones and torn ligaments.
Downed animals comprise a very small percentage of animals slaughtered, and prohibiting their marketing will cause no undue economic hardship.
Industry experts have estimated that 90% percent of downed animals can be prevented with better care and handling. Removing the market for downed animals will provide an incentive to industry to prevent downed animals in the first place.
The text on the left is taken from the "Organic Consumer Associaton" site. It contains a call to write a petition to the Food and Drug Administration's Dockets Management Branch to urge that they grant their petition to prohibit the slaughter of downed animals.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
announced a landmark policy to stop purchasing meat
from downed cows for Federal programs, including the
National School Lunch Program. The Agency stated, "USDA
will no longer accept ground beef that includes product
from non-ambulatory cattle, commonly known as "downers'.
Sick, dying, and crippled cattle are no longer welcome at Washington state slaughterhouses.
That ban is the direct result of a KIRO Team 7 Investigation into the downer cattle industry.
It's a ban that makes big beef and dairy interests furious, animal rights groups ecstatic.
The beef and dairy industries believe hamburger meat derived from downers is perfectly good to eat. Ranchers say they're losing money by now not being able to turning their dying dairy cows into food. Opponents of the practice say it's about time processing of downers ends, to better protect consumers.