The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Meredith Turner, Farm Sanctuary, 646-369-6212,

President Obama Urged to Stop Sick and Injured Pigs and Other Farm Animals from Entering the Food Supply

Farm Sanctuary Petition Seeks Legal Protections to Prevent Suffering of Downed Animals and Protect the Health of the American People


Dragged, beaten, pushed with forklifts and shocked
with electric prods - these are the routine methods used by workers to
get pigs and other farm animals too sick, injured or weak to walk on their own
onto slaughterhouse kill floors, and the reason Farm Sanctuary, the
nation's leading farm animal protection organization, is petitioning President
Barak Obama to put an end to this abuse by issuing regulations to prevent these
animals - called "downers" - from entering the food

In addition to the pain and suffering inflicted upon the animals,
the petition asserts the health of the American people is put at risk every
time one of these debilitated animals enters the food supply. Science has shown
that downed animals - victims of factory farm stresses and irresponsible
transportation methods - are at an increased risk for disease, as their
hides can become contaminated during the hours or days they are often left to
suffer, laying on the ground, without food, water or veterinary care.

"The abuse of living,
breathing, feeling pigs who are too sick, injured and weak to stand is
incongruent with our values of mercy and compassion," said Farm Sanctuary
President and Co-founder Gene Baur. "We urge President Obama to make good on
his pledge to be mindful of animal cruelty by demanding that the U.S. Department
of Agriculture (USDA) extend legal protections to downed pigs and all farm animals."

Since 1986, Farm Sanctuary has made great strides for
suffering animalsthrough the No Downers Campaign, including the first
ever U.S.
downed animal protection laws and the first successful conviction of a
stockyard for downed animal cruelty. Most recently, the organization's work
led to President Barack Obama's announcement of a new USDA rule that bans
the slaughter of cattle who become downed at any time for human consumption.
While acknowledged as being a step in the right direction, the group remains determined
to win legal protections for downed pigs and all other farm animals.

More than seven years ago Congress told the USDA to issue
regulations to prevent the abuse of downed pigs and other animals, but the
agency has failed to comply. As a result, downer pigs - an estimated
100,000 to more than 900,000 a year - continue to be subjected to intolerable

The petition
and more information about Farm Sanctuary's No Downers Campaign are
available at

Farm Sanctuary fights the disastrous effects of animal agriculture on animals, the environment, social justice, and public health through rescue, education, and advocacy.