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The following is published in The Humane Scorecard .. A project of The
Humane Society of the United States & Humane Society Legislative Fund
Humane Methods of Slaughter Act Enforcement
Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) again championed the cause of improving
of the HMSA with targeted funding, support by Senators Santorum & Levin.
Representatives Smith & Blumenauer, & the co-signers of the group letter.
06, Congress approved $9 million to help ensure that animals at slaughter
plants aren't hung upside down, cut, scalded, skinned or dismembered while
still conscious. This includes $5 million to implement a new system for
tracking violations of the federal humane slaughter law.
Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) again led successful efforts to keep out a
threatened "rider" by Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) to exempt factory farms
key environmental laws that require public reporting of toxic emissions
("Right-to-know" law) & require polluters to pay for cleanups (Superfund).
These laws provide important help for those challenging concentrated animal
feeding operations (CAFOs) in their local communities.
Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI) won Senate approval by voice vote for an
to the FY06 Agriculture Appropriations bill to ensure that "downers" -
livestock too sick or injured to walk - aren't allowed into the human food
supply by prohibiting USDA inspectors from approving meat from such animals.
Prohibiting the use of downers for human consumption removes the financial
incentive for farmers to send these suffering animals to slaughter. Downers
are known to be at higher risk for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE OR
"mad cow disease), E. coli & Salmonella.
Just a few weeks after House-Senate conferees decided to drop a parallel
provision in the FY 04 Agriculture Appropriations bill, the first U.S. case
of BSE was announced - involving a reportedly downed cow in Washington
State, whose meat had already been shipped to supermarkets in various
states. The USDA then proposed an interim rule to keep all downer cattle
out of the human food supply, but industry lobbyists have been working to
weaken this rule. They argue that animals who are downed due to injury
rather than illness pose no public health threat, even though at least three
of the seven identified cases of BSE in North America have involved cows who
were deemed to be downed due to injury. It's very difficult for an
inspector to properly determine why an animal is down. Injury & illness are
often interrelated. And no animal should be dragged by a fractured limb,
shocked, beaten or bulldozed onto the killing floor, regardless of the
reason the animal can't walk. A comprehensive ban on USDA approval of meat
from ANY downed animal - including pigs, cows & sheep - would also help
encourage producers to take extra care to keep animals from becoming downers
in the first place. Unfortunately, Senator Akaka's amendment was again
rejected in the House-Senate conference on the FY 06 Agriculture
Appropriations bill. He & Representatives Gary Ackerman (D-NY) & Steven
(R-OH) have introduced the Downed Animal Protection Act (S. 1779/H.R. 3931)
- to permanently ban USDA approval of meat from any downed animal & to
require immediate humane euthanasia of downers.
Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) & Edward Kennedy (D-MA) & Representative
(D-OH) introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act
(S.742/H.R.2562) to phase out the routine feeding of antibiotics to animals
to speed their growth & prevent disease in overcrowded stressful factory
farms. Agricultural overuse of antibiotics - which accounts for an
estimated 70 percent of all antibiotic use in this country - supports
inhumane conditions & contributes to the development of anti-biotic
resistance, undermining the drugs effectiveness for treating sick people &
Humane Poultry Slaughter
Since the 1950s, federal law has required that animals be rendered
insensible to pain before slaughter, but the USDA interprets this law to
exclude poultry - 95 percent of all farm animals slaughtered for food, or
nine billion animals a year. Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) is leading the
to draft legislation that would specifically give this most basic protection
to chicken, turkeys, rabbits & other currently excluded species under the
Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.
Farm Animal Welfare/Procurement
More than 10 billion farm animals are killed in the United States each year
for food or fiber, but no federal law requires humane treatment of these
animals on the farm. Representative Christopher Shays (R-CT) plans to
legislation enabling the federal government to help lead the way on humane
care of such animals by requiring government contractors to follow basic
humane care standards if they're providing farm animal products for federal
programs such as school lunches, the military & federal prisons.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- To learn more about your State's legislation & your legislator's actions
click on this link or copy & paste the link in your browser:
- Write letters to the editors to call attention to these issues.
- Let your legislators know that you appreciate their support for pro-animal legislation.
- Be sure to sign the petitions that come your way & pass them on to your
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