The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

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

Farm Sanctuary: Power to End Abuse of Sick Pigs and Protect America's Health Lies in President Obama's Hands

On One Year Anniversary of President Obama’s Ban on Downed Cattle Entering the Food Supply, Farm Sanctuary Delivers Petition Seeking Same Legal Protections for Pigs and other Downed Animals


on the one year anniversary of President Barack Obama's federal ban on sick
and injured cattle entering the U.S. food supply, Farm Sanctuary, the
nation's leading farm animal protection organization, will hand-deliver a
petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) signed by over 15,000
individuals urging the President to act quickly and extend those same legal
protections to debilitated pigs and all other "downed" farm
animals. The petition, which accompanies a formal petition for rulemaking, comes
at a time when the USDA is under heavy fire for failing to act
on reports of illegal, inhumane and unsafe slaughterhouse practices - including
shocking and butchering days-old calves too sick or weak to stand and illegally
butchering pigs while they were still conscious - cited by one of its
chief Food Safety and Inspection Service's supervisory veterinarians.

Further underscoring the urgency of a federal ban to protect
downed animals, recent media coverage of videotape evidence showing
slaughterhouse workers beating, kicking, shocking and dragging sick and injured
pigs to get them onto killing floors led thousands of Americans to sign Farm
Sanctuary's Petition for the Pigs.
In addition to the pain and suffering inflicted upon the animals, the petition also
asserts that 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 - the innocent victims of factory farm stresses and irresponsible
transportation methods - are at an increased risk for disease, and that 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 slaughter of downed
animals for human food is not only grossly inhumane, it is a serious threat to
the health and safety of the American people," said Farm Sanctuary
President and Co-founder Gene Baur. "Last week's Congressional hearing
demonstrated that the USDA has tended to protect the abusive, profit-driven
interests of big agribusiness at the expense of the well-being of the American
people and the animals entrusted to our care. We urge President Obama to demand that the
USDA extend legal protections to downed pigs and other farm animals. Like all
animals, farm animals have feelings, and they deserve to be protected from

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 cruelty.

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 convictions of stockyards
for downed animal cruelty. One year ago today, the organization's work led
to President Obama's announcement of a new USDA rule that bans the
slaughter of cattle who become downed at any time for human consumption. While that
rule was a step in the right direction, Farm Sanctuary remains determined to
win legal protections for downed pigs and all other farm animals.

More information about Farm
Sanctuary's No Downers
is available at

If you would like
to speak with Farm Sanctuary President and Co-founder Gene Baur, please contact
Meredith Turner at 646-369-6212 or

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