Action Alert on "Downer Cows"


Last year, the USDA announced a landmark policy to stop purchasing meat from
downed cows for Federal programs, including the National School Lunch
Program. The Agency stated, "USDA will no longer accept ground beef that
includes product from non-ambulatory cattle, commonly known as "downers'.
This development shows a growing consensus- even among livestock industry
and government officials- that the marketing and slaughter of downed animals
is unacceptable.

Our chances of stopping the downed animal trade are better now than ever,
and letters are needed to urge the Food and Drug Administration to grant
petition 98P-0151/CP1 to prohibit the slaughter of downed animals. Please
write today, and please encourage others to write as well:

How You Can Help

Please write to the Food and Drug Administration's Dockets Management Branch
to urge that they grant our petition to prohibit the slaughter of downed
animals - docket number 98P-0151/CP1. It is critical that you include the
docket number in your comment. Please write to:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Dockets Management Branch
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852
FAX: 301-827-6870

Some points to make include:

Animals who are too sick or injured even to stand should not be allowed to
enter the human food chain.

In addition to posing an increased risk for bacterial contamination, there
is evidence that some downed animals may be afflicted with a form of BSE
(Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or "Mad Cow Disease"), a disease which has
been linked to a fatal human illness (CJD or Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease).

It is impossible to move downed animals humanely, and they are typically
pushed with tractors or dragged with chains - inhumane processes which cause
injuries ranging from bruises and abrasions, to broken bones and torn

Downed animals comprise a very small percentage of animals slaughtered, and
prohibiting their marketing will cause no undue economic hardship.

Industry experts have estimated that 90% percent of downed animals can be
prevented with better care and handling. Removing the market for downed
animals will provide an incentive to industry to prevent downed animals in
the first place.

For more information, contact:
Farm Sanctuary
Campaigns Dept.
(607) 292-3731

or visit

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