The United States Department of Agriculture recently confirmed the second case of mad cow disease in the United States.  Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns stated at his confirmation hearing in January of 2005 that there is a strong correlation between the use of non-ambulatory “downed animals” in the human food supply and the risk of BSE.  Nonetheless, Mr. Johanns has recently stated publicly that he intends to lift the temporary ban on allowing “downed animals” in the human food supply.  Not only does this threaten the health of millions of people worldwide, it creates unconscionable cruelty in the animals that are too injured and weak to stand due to broken bones, illness or disease.  Of the 30 million cows slaughtered each year, an estimated 195,000 are non-ambulatory.  These non-ambulatory animals are dragged to the slaughter, while fully conscious, by bulldozers or pulled by chains with no regard for the excruciating pain they must endure.  Currently pending in both houses of Congress is the Downed Animal Protection Act (S. 1779/H.R. 3931).  Please contact your federal elected officials and urge them to support this pertinent piece of legislation.  Not only would the ban on the use of downed animals reduce the risk of mad cow disease, it would force the handlers of these animals to provide better care in the first place.  For more information, CLICK HERE.

Please contact USDA Secretary Johanns and urge him to keep the temporary ban on the use of downed animals in the food supply.

Secretary Mike Johanns
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

On September 20, 2005 the U.S. Senate approved a permanent ban on the inspection of downer animals for human consumption.  This ban came as an amendment to the 2006 Agriculture Approporiations Bill.  The amendment prohibits the use of federal funds for inspecting and approving downed animals for human consumption under the Federal Meat Inspection Act.  This ban includes cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules or other equines that are unable to stand or walk unassisted at a slaughtering, packing, meat-canning, rendering, or similiar establishment subject to inspection at the point of examination and inspections.  Unfortunately, this provision is not in the House Agriculture Appropriations bill and stands the possibility of being excluded when the two houses meet to reconcile their respective bills.  Please contact your U.S. Representative and urge him/her to add this provision into the House version of the bill which would allow the ban to become a federal law.