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USDA’s Latest Slaughterhouse Violations Heighten Urgency for Federal Ban on All Sick Animals Entering Food Supply
“Yesterday members of Congress heard testimony from Dean Wyatt, a supervisory veterinarian at the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, about instances in which he and other inspectors were overruled when citing slaughterhouses for violations such as shocking and butchering days-old calves that were too weak or sick to stand and butchering conscious pigs, despite rules that they first be stunned and unconscious. In addition to being illegal, inhumane and unsafe, this behavior falls well outside the bounds of what most Americans consider acceptable conduct, and the USDA’s repeated decision to turn a blind eye toward it is cause for national outrage and concern.
“For nearly a quarter century, Farm Sanctuary has worked to end the suffering of ‘downers,’ animals too sick, weak or injured to walk on their own. It is one of our cornerstone campaigns because these animals suffer the greatest abuse at the hands of slaughterhouse workers, who will use any means necessary to get them onto the killing floor, including beating, pushing, prodding, hitting and dragging. If cats or dogs were treated in this manner, public outcry would demand that swift action be taken to protect these animals and punish those responsible for allowing the abuse to occur. Having cared for thousands of rescued farm animals at our shelters in Watkins Glen, NY and Orland, CA, l can assure you that cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens and turkeys experience pain and suffering the same as dogs and cats, and deserve to be treated with respect.
“It’s completely understandable that the American people should feel betrayed by the USDA for allowing its allegiance to the profit-driven interests of big agribusiness to undermine its duty to protect the health and safety of both humans and animals, but we have the power to channel this frustration and disappointment into positive change. I urge everyone to express their disapproval of the USDA’s unconscionable conduct by signing our petition to President Obama to ban downed pigs and all other downed livestock from entering the food supply. This month marks the one year anniversary of the Obama administration’s ban on allowing sick and injured cattle to enter the food supply, and the USDA’s most recent failures only serve to underscore the critical urgency that President Obama ban all other downed livestock from entering the U.S. food supply.”