Dear friend of animals,
I am happy to tell you that no downed cattle will be slaughtered for human food under a new rule announced by President Obama this weekend. However, many other downed animals are still in need of your help to ensure that they are no longer pushed, prodded and dragged to slaughter.
Under the previous regulations, a case-by-case assessment was made of cattle that went down at the slaughterhouse after passing the pre-slaughter inspection. The loopholes encouraged slaughterhouse workers to get cattle to stand and walk on their own, dragging them by the ears and tails, prodding them with electric shocks, even dragging them with chains and pushing them with forklifts, because an animal deemed a downer meant a loss in profits. While the meat industry pushed to allow sick and non-ambulatory cattle to enter the food chain amid the mad-cow disease scare (a reality the country has yet to truly confront), and hung on during an exposť of a California slaughterhouse that led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history, the Obama Administration moved quickly to address some of our longstanding concerns.
Since its inception, Farm Sanctuary has advocated an end to downed animal abuse and urged the USDA to ban their marketing. Our No Downers Campaign was founded in the belief that if downed animals are prevented from entering the food supply, producers would have less of an incentive to maintain the status quo of pushing these animals past their biological limits at any and all costs. Through the years that we have waged this campaign, we have worked for passage of the first laws in this country to end the marketing of downed animals, we have seen slaughterhouses and stockyards convicted of cruelty, and we have rescued and come to the aid of hundreds of downed animals.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said this new rule "is a step forward for both food safety and the standards for humane treatment of animals." Yet it is just a step and more steps are needed. The USDA needs to extend these same protections to all species—pigs, sheep, goats and other livestock who are disabled due to the intensity of factory farming and the push to maximize profits at the expense of living animals.
Please take a few minutes to contact Secretary Vilsack, thank him for closing the loopholes for downed cattle, and urge him to expand the umbrella of protection to other animals.
Thank you for your compassion and your action.
President and Co-founder, Farm Sanctuary
Farm Sanctuary has found downed pigs, goats and sheep languishing at stockyards and slaughterhouses across the U.S.
New Holland Sales Stable was convicted of animal cruelty as a result of a Farm Sanctuary investigation involving the two downed sheep shown above.
Please take action now!