WASHINGTON – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working on a proposed rule to ban slaughter of disabled cattle.


Schafer said in a statement that the decision came after a 60-day surveillance period after the Hallmark/Westland beef recall. The recall came after workers were videotaped abusing disabled cattle. While no beef from those cattle entered the food supply, more than 140 million pounds of beef were recalled nationwide.


“The decision to ban all non-ambulatory cattle from slaughter will positively impact the humane handling of cattle by reducing the incentive to send marginally weakened cattle to market,” Schafer said.


He said the Food Safety and Inspection Service will draft a proposed rule to remove the exception that allows certain injured cattle to proceed to slaughter. This action is supposed to provide efficiencies to food safety inspection by removing the step that requires inspection workforce to determine when non-ambulatory cattle are safe to slaughter.