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Slaughterhouse Abuse of Downer Cows And Mad Cow Risk Continues

WASHINGTON - The group whose undercover slaughterhouse video prompted the largest beef recall in U.S. history in February alleged on Wednesday that cattle continue to be abused, this time at livestock auctions. The Humane Society of the United States, an animal rights group, said a new investigation discovered dairy cattle being abused in May at a livestock auction in New Mexico. The group said an investigator watched three cows and calves "being mistreated and tormented in order to get them to stand and walk" into an auction ring in Portales. The group said state inspectors "were present at the auctions and apparently saw much of the abuse."

At the group's headquarters, president Wayne Pacelle played for reporters a short video that showed a stockyard worker kicking a cow, another cow struggling to pull itself forward by its front legs and another being dragged by a hind leg with a chain attached to a Bobcat-type tractor.

A meat industry trade association condemned the handling practices shown in the video, calling them "simply inexplicable."

It was not immediately clear whether the cows in the video were sold at auction or were even the same cows referred to in the investigation.
"We had hoped that this problem would have been taken care of by the regulatory agencies and the private livestock industry," Pacelle said. There's no evidence the downer cows - meaning they are unable to walk - were slaughtered or, if so, whether the meat found its way into the National School Lunch Program, a major buyer of ground beef, he said.

Full Story: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-06-25-downer-cattle_N.htm