Congress Group Urges USDA to Ban Slaughter of Downer Calves

US - A group of 72 members of Congress is calling on the US Department of Agriculture to close a loophole in federal regulations that allows downer calves to be slaughtered for food.
calendar icon 14 February 2014
clock icon 1 minute read

The group, led by Democrats Representatives Grace Meng, and Carol Shea-Porter, claims that the current regulations allows the calves that are too sick, injured, weak or tired to stand on their own encourages abuse as workers try to get the animals to stand for inspection.

Last year, the USDA granted a 2009 Humane Society of the United States legal petition requesting an end to the practice of slaughtering downer veal calves, consistent with the agency’s rule for adult downer cattle, but HSUS says that the USDA has not yet moved forward on this.

The congressional letter states: “More than four years have passed since HSUS requested this common-sense change, yet not even a proposed rule has been issued…. Keeping disabled calves alive to suffer in pens is not only inhumane but also poses serious food safety threats.”

“USDA should not tolerate the abuse of any downed animals, including calves,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO for The HSUS.

“The HSUS has now exposed cruelty to downer calves in two investigations, and it’s past time for the agency to take action to close this loophole.

“We commend the 72 members of Congress who join us in demanding USDA address this serious livestock handling issue.”

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