Confirmation of BSE in Non-Ambulatory Alabama Beef Cow Raises Concerns about USDA's Refusal to Make Ban on Downed Animals Entering the Food Supply Permanent
After a third case of "mad cow" disease has been confirmed in the U.S. in a "downed" cow – meaning a cow too sick or injured to stand – Farm Sanctuary has reissued a call for a full and permanent ban on downed animals entering the food supply. Seven of the eight confirmed cases of mad cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE) confirmed in North America were in downed animals. Farm Sanctuary is urging the USDA to make permanent its temporary ban on slaughtering downed cattle for human food, and it is supporting passage of federal legislation to ban the marketing and slaughter of downed animals.
"It appears more than anecdotal that almost all of the mad cow cases reported in U.S. and Canada were from downed animals" said U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), sponsor of the Downed Animal Protection Act, which would permanently ban the use of all downer animals from the food supply. "For the sake of the health and safety of the American people as well as for humane reasons, it should be absolutely obvious to the bureaucrats and lawmakers that there is no way that any downer should be allowed to enter the food chain and that these animals must be humanely euthanized, rather than eaten."
The latest U.S. cow found to be infected with Mad Cow Disease is believed to be about 10 years old and was described as "non-ambulatory" by the USDA. Officials speculate that she may have been infected after eating contaminated feed.
"In addition to BSE, downed animals are more likely to be contaminated with fecal pathogens and other diseases, and it is impossible to move them humanely," said Gene Bauston, president and cofounder of Farm Sanctuary, an organization that has worked to end the marketing of downed animals since its inception, 20 years ago.
Additional information about Farm Sanctuary's campaign to permanently end the marketing of downer cattle can be found at http://www.nodowners.org .
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