“Downer Cattle” to be Spared Slaughter

July 15, 2007 at 3:23 pm (injustice) (, , , )

“Downer cattle” are the ones unable to walk or stand, possibly showing signs of mad cow disease. Until 2004, they were routinely slaughtered and sold as food regardless of the possibility of infection. But in 2004, temporary restrictions were put in place and have since been deemed worthy precautions. According to a USDA news release, these restrictions will become permanent October 1, 2007.

On Jan. 12, 2004, FSIS issued a series of three interim final rules in response to the first BSE diagnosis on Dec. 23, 2003. Those rules had prohibited for human consumption non-ambulatory “downer” cattle and cattle tissue identified as specified risk materials (SRMs); banned the use of high pressure stunning devices that could drive SRM tissue into the meat; and established requirements for Advanced Meat Recovery systems.

The rule requires that spinal cord must be removed from cattle 30 months of age and older at the place of slaughter. It also mandates that records must be maintained when beef products containing SRMs are moved from one federally inspected establishment to another for further processing.

This is an improvement, if only a tiny one. But still, of course, I feel no better about the vast majority of flesh production.

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