USDA prohibits slaughter of downer cattle

March 14, 2009 07:00 PM
On Saturday, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a final rule to amend  federal meat inspection regulations requiring a complete ban on the slaughter of cattle that become non-ambulatory disabled after passing initial inspection by Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) program personnel, according to a USDA press release.

The final rule amends federeal meat inspection regulations to require that all cattle that are non-ambulatory disabled at any time prior to slaughter at an official establishment, including those that become non-ambulatory disabled after passing ante-mortem inspection, be condemned, humanely euthanized and properly disposed.

"This rule is designed to enhance consumer confidence and humane handling standards and will provide clear guidance that non-ambulatory cattle will not be allowed to enter the human food supply," Vilsack says.

Discontinuing the case-by-case disposition of cattle that become non-ambulatory disabled after ante-morten inspection will eliminate the time FSISveterinarians spend conducting additional inspection on these animals. It willtherefore free up time for these inspector to perform other inspections.

For further information, contact Dr. Daniel Engeljohn, Deputy Assistant Administrator, FSIS, at 202-205-0495.

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