California Bans Sick and Disabled Animals from the Food SupplyPosted by Lisa Franzetta, ALDF's Director of Communications on April 2, 2010
Wednesday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a California law banning the use of sick and disabled (“downed”) animals in the human food supply. Last year, a federal judge temporarily blocked the state from enforcing the law as a result of a lawsuit brought by the National Meat Association and the American Meat Institute.
The trade groups wanted to continue to use downed animals in the human food supply despite a series of recent high profile scandals concerning downed animal abuse in the meat industry. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary, and the Humane Farming Association intervened in the lawsuit in 2009.
California’s downed animal protection law was amended and strengthened in 2008 in response to an HSUS investigation that exposed torment and horrific abuse of downed cows at a southern California slaughter plant. The Hallmark/Westland plant, based in Chino, was the nation’s number-two supplier of ground beef to the National School Lunch Program. The revised law was designed to prevent the abuses at Hallmark/Westland from ever happening again.
“The writing is on the wall for factory farming operations that continue to subject animals to appalling abuses despite increased consumer calls for less cruel farming methods–and increased recognition by the courts that animals have interests that should be protected by the law,” stated Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund.