No Downers For Dinner!
You may be asking yourselves, why is the ERR concerned about "Downers"? The ERR is concerned because on a regular basis, we are finding debilitated horses being shipped for slaughter. And we are certain that that all are still standing upon arrival at the next auction, a stopover, or finally, the slaughterhouse. By urging the USDA to outlaw the slaughter of downed animals, you are urging them to outlaw the slaughter of downed horses also.
"Downers" are animals, which include horses, who are too sick or injured to walk. Instead of euthanizing them, they are transported to slaughter - by any means necessary. Why do you ask? Because live animals can be sold to slaughterhouses for human consumption, dead ones can only be rendered. The cruelty these downed animals face are horrific. They are kicked, bulldozed, pushed with tractors, dragged with chains, or shocked with cattle prods. Prior to slaughter, these animals endure excrutiating pain from bruises, abrasions, broken or crushed bones, torn muscles, trampling on trailers, and more.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering outlawing the slaughter of downed animals for food. We need to urge both the USDA and the FDA to prohibit the transport and sale of downed animals. Steps were taken by the USDA last year, when it announced that it will stop purchasing meat from downed cows for federal programs, including the national school lunch program.
From the ASPCA newsletter, according to Gene Bauston, the founder and director of Farm Sanctuary, a NY/CA based farm animal protection organization, "This development shows a growing consensus--even among livestock industry and government officials--that the marketing and slaughter of downed animals is unacceptable," and "Our chances of stopping the downed animal trade are better now than ever".
From the HSUS, "The American public is looking to the USDA and the FDA to eliminate unnecessary food safety risks, protect animals from needless suffering, and ensure that the livestock industry's quality assurance programs are held to the highest standards. The HSUS strongly urges the USDA and the FDA to fulfill their responsibility to the public and prohibit the slaughter of downed animals."
MAKE A DIFFERENCE TODAY!
Urge the FDA to grant the petition to prohibit the slaughter of downed animals for food by writing to their Dockets Management Branch, referring to:
Docket Number 98P-0151/CP1
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Dockets Management Branch
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852
Suggested Points from the HSUS:
• Downers pose an increased risk for bacterial contamination. There is also evidence that some downed animals may be afflicted with a form of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or "Mad Cow Disease"), a disease that has been linked to a fatal human illness (CJD, or Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease).
• It is impossible to move downed animals humanely.
• Industry experts have estimated that 90% 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.