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It's encouraging to hear Obama acknowledging some major problems in our food safety system: grossly outdated food safety laws, poor coordination between government agencies that regulate food safety, and lack of FDA funding to conduct inspections.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