City Pulse

By Sharon Gomes Thomas

(All information and photos courtesy of The Human Society of the United States)


In the wake of the recall of 143 million pounds of beef – the largest in the nation’s history by far – The Humane Society of the United States is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Congress to take immediate steps to enact more stringent laws to prevent a recurrence of the abuses documented at a southern California slaughter plant.

An investigation by The Humane Society at a cattle slaughterhouse documented animals too sick or injured to stand or walk – called “downers” by industry – being kicked, beaten, dragged with chains, shocked with electric prods, sprayed in the face with hoses, and rammed by forklifts in efforts to get them to their feet to pass USDA inspection.

Watch the video -
Warning: Contains very graphic content

This unacceptable cruelty potentially puts the food supply at risk – at least 12 of the 15 identified cases of mad cow disease in North America to date have reportedly been downers. Despite claims that downers were being eliminated from the food supply downed animals may be falling through the cracks as a result of poor oversight, enforcement, and a loophole created by inconsistent agency regulations.



Demand that the USDA eliminate this dangerous loophole and immediately ban all downers. Go to the Humane Society website to take action and get more information

Or click on this link to find out more about their Factory Farming Campaign

The HSUS also called on USDA to change its policy and prohibit the slaughter of all – not just some – downed cows. As well, the organization is asserting that this case further underscores the need for Congress to enact pending farm animal welfare legislation — the Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act and the Farm Animal Stewardship Purchasing Act – with no further delay.

Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act
To end the use of non-ambulatory livestock – animals too sick or injured to stand or walk on their own – in human food and require that these “downed” animals are immediately humanely euthanized at slaughter plants.

Farm Animal Stewardship Purchasing Act
This requires producers supplying meat, dairy products, or eggs to the military, federal prisons, school lunches, and other federal programs to comply with basic animal welfare requirements.

Support The Humane Society of North America and their undercover investigations such as this one by donating to their work.


All information and photos courtesy of
The Human Society of the United States
2100 L Street
Washington DC 20037
Ph: 202-452-1100

Originally published February 2008
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