The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is requesting comments on petitions about veal calves, pigs, sheep, goats and other livestock that are not able to walk into the slaughterhouse. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has a petition for veal calves and Farm Sanctuary has a petition for all livestock. Right now, veal calves that are not able to walk into the slaughterhouse because they are too tired or cold are put aside until they are rested and warmed up and then can walk into the slaughterhouse.
The Humane Society has proposed that downed veal calves should be condemned and promptly and humanely euthanized. Farm Sanctuary has proposed to prohibit the slaughter of downed livestock. Downed livestock are animals that cannot rise or walk, including those with broken appendages, severed tendons or ligaments, nerve paralysis, fractured backbone, or metabolic conditions. These animals are supposed to be humanely euthanized by the slaughterhouse and the carcass disposed of by placing it in a tank and heating it or crushing, hashing, incinerating until it is unfit for human food purposes. In 2007 the FSIS prohibited the slaughter of downed cattle since they have a greater chance spreading the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow Disease, which is the chronic degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system of cattle. The set-aside for treatment is inhumane because it encourages dragging, kicking, excessive shocking, and other means of forcing downed calves to move. By not requiring immediate euthanasia there is financial incentive for abuse since the calf is worthless unless slaughtered.
This video footage documents incidents in which a veal slaughter establishment owner and his employees repeatedly use electric prods and physical force to attempt to get downed veal calves to rise.
Farm Sanctuary’s petition wants to make sure that downed pigs, sheep, goats and other livestock are humanely handled. Farm Sanctuary started this petition after reading FSIS Non-Compliance Records (NRs) of slaughterhouse personnel kicking, prodding, dragging, and forcing downed pigs to slaughter. Farm Sanctuary also found out that downed sheep were denied access to food and water. Since only downed cattle are protected from being slaughtered for food, slaughterhouses still have a financial incentive to send other downed livestock to slaughter. By including all downed livestock in the Humane Slaughter Act, regulations will encourage livestock producers and transporters to improve their practices and stop diseased animals from entering the food supply chain.
To support these petitions please write by April 8, 2011 to FSIS at their Federal eRulemaking Portal or mail to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), FSIS, Room 2–2127, George Washington Carver Center, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Beltsville, MD 20705–5272. All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the U.S. Department of Agriculture and docket number FSIS–2010–0041.