Catfish Feed Aid, Downer Cattle Language in Proposed Stimulus Bill

November 18, 2008 06:00 PM

via a special arrangement with Informa Economics, Inc.

Lawmakers continue old ways in adding 'goodies' to 'stimulus' package

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

Senate Democrats are trying to push a a new $100.3 billion Fiscal Year 2009 supplemental appropriations measure that is not expected to pass due to opposition from Senate Republicans and White House officials. But let's take a look at some of the proposed "goodies" that Senators have included in the massive spending measure:

Catfish aid and downer cattle restrictions: The proposed package includes $50 million in feed assistance for catfish farmers, and language regarding nonambulatory (downer) cattle that current USDA officials describe as “very restrictive.”

The Senate downer cattle language follows:

Sec. 1101. (a) Hereafter, in this section, the term ``nonambulatory disabled cattle'' means cattle, other than cattle that are less than 5 months old or weigh less than 500 pounds, subject to inspection under section 3(b) of the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 603(b)) that cannot rise from a recumbent position or walk, including cattle with a broken appendage, severed tendon or ligament, nerve paralysis, fractured vertebral column, or a metabolic condition.
(b) Hereafter, none of the funds made available under this or any other Act may be used to pay the salaries or expenses of any personnel of the Food Safety and Inspection Service to pass through inspection any nonambulatory disabled cattle for use as human food, regardless of the reason for the nonambulatory status of the cattle or the time at which the cattle became nonambulatory.
(c) Hereafter, in addition to any penalties available under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), the Secretary shall impose penalties consistent with sections 10414 and 10415 of the Animal Health Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 8313, 8314) on any establishment that slaughters nonambulatory disabled cattle or prepares a carcass, part of a carcass, or meat or meat food product, from any nonambulatory disabled cattle, for use as human food.

Some items in the proposed bill include:

$792 million for Rural Utilities & Community Facilities loans and grants
$445 million for Special WIC Supplemental funding
$8.2 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program
$171 million for the Farm Service Agency’s IT system
Ban on the slaughter of non-ambulatory cattle
Disaster Assistance for sugar in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas
$50 million for Catfish Feed Assistance Grants
$13 million to implement CFTC authorities enacted in the 2008 Farm Bill

Comments: If catfish farmers need $50 million in feed assistance, why not aid for cattle, hog, poultry, dairy... you get the picture. Old ways die hard in Washington -- even after a "mandate for change:" election....

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.


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