14 March 2009

Downer cow loophole is closed

Good news to report from Wayne Pacelle's blog (HSUS President)
[T]oday, President Obama himself announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture was officially putting a stop to non-ambulatory cattle being mishandled in order to get them into slaughter plants.

Pacelle is referring to the USDA's heartless economic policy that allowed sick cattle to be slaughtered and enter the food supply, if they were ambulatory on first inspection and then went down later. The USDA has promised no-downer policies in the past, but it was quietly weakened despite consumer outcry.

Thanks to last year's HSUS undercover video investigation at the Chino, CA slaughter plant, lots of Americans were exposed for the first time to the cruelest abuses taken against farm animals. Based on the President's address and the appointment of Tom Vilsack to head USDA and Peggy Hamburg to FDA, 2009 could mean good things for animals. According to HSLF, Vilsack has a "solid record on animal protection," standing up to animal fighting and puppy mills as former Iowa governor. And Hamburg is viewed by many as a consumer advocate. We will see how this plays out for animals.

It's encouraging to hear Obama acknowledging some major problems in our food safety system: grossly outdated food safety laws, poor coordination between government agencies that regulate food safety, and lack of FDA funding to conduct inspections. Watch his 5-minute weekly address:

Vegans should get behind the food safety push, not just as animal advocates but as consumers. Especially when we have national leaders who are making commitments early on to improve the situation. There's lots of common ground for us vegans to build upon when more people realize that the way we treat animals is harming society.


Warwak said...

Grossly outdated is right! It already is illegal to slaughter "downer" cows, which are too sick or weak to stand on their own, to keep them out of the food supply. That one has been on the books since 1906.

Just more empty words (lack of action) to ease public fears. Obama is making sure we will remain a corpse-munching nation now that he is hard on the case. I smell happy meat. Murder is as murder does. How nice of that one.

This is our real president:

Raghav said...

I doubt it that any president will come out and say, "don't eat meat". This is probably the closest we can get.

The good news is that the side effects of the Obama's focus on health, will, at the very least, reduce the suffering by orders of magnitude.