WASHINGTON (CN) - The Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary have requested to change what becomes of veal calves and other animals when they are disabled to the point that they cannot walk to their slaughter.
Common practice has been that veal calves that could not stand because they were tired or cold could be warmed and rested and given another chance to walk to their deaths, instead of being condemned and euthanized on the spot. The Humane Society has petitioned to not give them that second chance because of inhumane treatment that has occured when farm hands are directed to make them stand up.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service requires that animals be able to stand before being killed for meat to keep slaughter houses from missing animals that should be removed from the meat production process due to disease, but that may not show symptoms because they are lying down. Of particular concern is that they may carry the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy agent, which can cause Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a fatal brain disorder, in humans that eat the meat.
A side effect of the requirement is that workers may shock, kick, prod or do other things to the animals to get them to stand up. A Vermont facility was shut down in 2009 due to an escalation of the violence that included skinning a calf alive and cutting off a foot.
The Humane Society of the United States has requested that the Food Safety and Inspection Service change its regulations so veal calves that cannot stand up on their own are condemned and promptly and humanely euthanized. Farm Sanctuary has petitioned to prohibit the slaughter of non-ambulatory disabled pigs, sheep, goats, and other livestock that could be similarly affected.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service requests public comment on the petitions and clarifies its requirements for condemned non-ambulatory disabled cattle at official slaughter houses.
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