May 3, 2002 New York Post by Vincent MorrisWASHINGTON -- The House yesterday corralled a New York congressman's effort to save crippled and dying cows from the slaughterhouse, as it bowed to a meaty lobbying campaign by big beef interests.
The vote against the animal-rights activists means that stockyards can continue selling the public meat from "downers" - cows, sheep and other farm animals that are too weak, sick or injured to stand or walk.
"The most horrific problem of animal abuse in the meat industry . . . will continue unchecked," complained Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Queens), who led the failed crusade to protect the hurting cattle.
"Meat from downed animals has an increased risk for bacterial contamination and other diseases, including neurological afflictions such as mad cow disease," added Ackerman.
Because meat-packing plants are barred from turning dead animals into food for human consumption, near-dead cows are often kicked or dragged with rope or chains into the slaughter pen, the Humane Society says.
The issue of downers was part of a much broader farm bill, approved yesterday by the House on a 280-141 vote, with Ackerman and a mix of Democrats and Republicans voting no. President Bush supports the bill.