USDA prohibits slaughter of downer cattle

March 14, 2009 07:00 PM
       Saturday, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a final rule to amend  
federal meat inspection regulations to required 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.
       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 
        "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 FSIS
veterinarians spend conducting additional inspection on these animals. It will
therefore 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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