The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has joined the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) on the downer issue, as part of the federal response to "mad cow disease"(aka bovine spongiform encephalopathy or "BSE"). In January, USDA proposed an "interim final rule"banning use of downed cattle (those unable to stand or walk on their own) in human food. In July, FDA followed suit, issuing its own "interim final rule"prohibiting the use of downers in products that fall under FDA's jurisdiction, including cosmetics, health supplements, and some processed foods.
The FDA is taking public comments on this rule until October 12. As with USDA, we need a massive outpouring of comments to be submitted now in order to show FDA how strongly the public supports a comprehensive downer ban. Industry has been pushing for exemptions for animals who are supposedly "just"injured (i.e., not sick), even though it's nearly impossible to tell why an animal has become a downer, and disease and injury are often interrelated. A comprehensive ban is needed not just for consumers, but also for animals: When cattlemen realize they cannot market products from these animals, they'll have more incentive to treat them humanely and prevent them from becoming downed in the first place. The ban helps put an end to cruel treatment of downers, who have often been beaten, shocked, dragged with chains, or pushed by bulldozer en route to slaughter.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Urge FDA to retain its ban on use of any downers in consumer items such as cosmetics, health supplements, and processed food products. Send your comments
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