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Efforts to Close “Painful” Loophole in Animal Slaughter Regs

PHOTO: An undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States revealed animal abuse. Videotape from the investigation showed veal calves only a few days old were kicked, slapped and repeatedly shocked with electric prods and subjected to other mistreatment. Photo Credit: HSUS
PHOTO: An undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States revealed animal abuse. Videotape from the investigation showed veal calves only a few days old were kicked, slapped and repeatedly shocked with electric prods and subjected to other mistreatment. Photo Credit: HSUS
May 16, 2014

PHOENIX – Some see it as a painful loophole in animal slaughter regulations.

It affects so-called downer calves – cattle that are on the ground and can't get up.

Paul Shapiro, vice president for Farm Animal Protection with the Humane Society of the United States, says federal law currently prohibits the slaughter for food of adult cattle that are too sick, injured or weak to stand on their own.

But the law does not protect younger, veal calves in the same situations.

"That loophole needs to be closed,” he stresses. “If downer cattle shouldn't be subjected to the rigors and torment that we have seen in slaughter plants, then certainly neither should be downer calves."

A dozen U.S. senators have written a letter calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to prevent the slaughter of downer calves for food.

A similar House letter co-signed by 72 members of Congress was sent to the USDA in February.

Shapiro says his group in undercover investigations recently documented inhumane treatment of downer calves, and it led to action.

"We've seen the Bushway slaughter plant in Vermont get shut down for extreme criminal, cruelty to animals, and it was because of their torture of these downer calves," he says.

Shapiro says the senators pointed out in their joint letter to the USDA that it has been four years since the Humane Society requested what it asserts is common-sense legislation, but to date, the agency has not even offered a proposed rule.



Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ