Humane Groups Appeal Ruling Allowing Sick, Disabled Animals into Food Supply

Posted on March 6, 2009

California Attorney General Also Seeks to Restore New California Food Safety Law

Lisa Franzetta, Animal Legal Defense Fund

CowSan Francisco — Today, The Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary, the Humane Farming Association and the Animal Legal Defense Fund appealed a Feb. 19 court decision which temporarily stops the state from enforcing key provisions of California’s newly upgraded law banning the use of sick and disabled animals in the food supply. The groups also commend California Attorney General Gerald Brown for appealing the decision yesterday.

Both appeals were filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco and seek permission for California food safety officials to continue to protect animals and public health by keeping downed, sick and injured animals out of the human food supply.

The decision at issue prevents any portion of California’s downed animal law from being applied to pig slaughter plants. The ruling not only allows sick and injured pigs to enter the food supply, but could also set a precedent for other farm animal processors seeking to skirt food safety laws and put meat from other sick and injured animals, including cattle, into the public food supply.

Downed cattle are more likely to be infected with BSE – bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or "mad cow disease." Studies suggest animals used for food who are too sick or injured to stand and walk may be more likely to harbor foodborne bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella, which kill hundreds of Americans every year.

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