Humane Society calls for downer ban

June 25, 2005 at 11:45 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 25 (UPI) -- The Humane Society of the United States has called on the federal government to permanently ban the slaughter of downed cattle to protect the food supply.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed a second mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, in the United States Friday.

"The downer ban put into place by the (U.S.) Agriculture Department at the end of December 2003 kept this sick animal out of the meat case, preventing another economic catastrophe for the cattle industry," said HSUS President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne Pacelle. "The recent talk by USDA and industry officials of weakening the downer ban should end today, and a permanent downer ban should be announced immediately for the welfare of the animals and for the safety of the public."

Both the U.S. House and Senate had voted to ban the processing of downer livestock, but lawmakers ultimately jettisoned the provisions.

Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., and Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, intend to introduce legislation soon to codify the downer cattle ban and to extend the ban to apply to pigs and other livestock.

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