Call For FDA To Prohibit Slaughter
Of 'Downer Cows' For Food 2-2-01

Last year, the USDA announced a landmark policy to stop purchasing meat from downed cows for Federal programs, including the National School Lunch Program. The Agency stated, "USDA will no longer accept ground beef that includes product from non-ambulatory cattle, commonly known as "downers'. This development shows a growing consensus- even among livestock industry and government officials- that the marketing and slaughter of downed animals is unacceptable.
Our chances of stopping the downed animal trade are better now than ever, and letters are needed to urge the Food and Drug Administration to grant petition 98P-0151/CP1 to prohibit the slaughter of downed animals. Please write today, and please encourage others to write as well:
How You Can Help
Please write to the Food and Drug Administration's Dockets Management Branch to urge that they grant our petition to prohibit the slaughter of downed animals - docket number 98P-0151/CP1. It is critical that you include the docket number in your comment. Please write to:
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Dockets Management Branch
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852
FAX: 301-827-6870
Some points to make include:
Animals who are too sick or injured even to stand should not be allowed to enter the human food chain.
In addition to posing an increased risk for bacterial contamination, there is evidence that some downed animals may be afflicted with a form of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or "Mad Cow Disease"), a disease which has been linked to a fatal human illness (CJD or Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease).
It is impossible to move downed animals humanely, and they are typically pushed with tractors or dragged with chains - inhumane processes which cause injuries ranging from bruises and abrasions, to broken bones and torn ligaments.
Downed animals comprise a very small percentage of animals slaughtered, and prohibiting their marketing will cause no undue economic hardship.
Industry experts have estimated that 90% percent of downed animals can be prevented with better care and handling. Removing the market for downed animals will provide an incentive to industry to prevent downed animals in the first place.
Organic Consumers Association -

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