WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Wednesday a proposed rule to amend regulations to begin a complete ban on the slaughter of cattle that become non-ambulatory after initial inspection or “downer cattle.”
The rule follows a May 20 announcement by Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer to remove the provision that says the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) inspection program will determine the disposition of cattle that become non-ambulatory after pre-slaughter inspection on a case-by-case basis. Under the proposed new rule, any cattle that become disabled will be condemned and disposed of.
"To maintain consumer confidence in the food supply, eliminate further misunderstanding of the rule and, ultimately, to make a positive impact on the humane handling of cattle, I believe it is sound policy to simplify this matter by initiating a complete ban on the slaughter of downer cattle," said Schafer.
Comments on this proposed rule must be received on or before September 29th, 2008. Comments can be sent to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Room 2534 South Agriculture Building, 1400 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, D.C. 20250 or submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. All submissions received by mail or electronic mail must reference the FSIS and include the docket number FSIS-2008-0022.
Source: Food Safety and Inspection Service