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The Honorable Representative _____________________________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Representative ___________________________________,
I am shocked that Congress is considering a bill to dismantle the USDA’s ban on the marketing and slaughter of downed animals for human consumption. H.R. 4121, deceptively titled the Consumer and Producer Protection Act, dilutes the definition of downed cows by omitting all animals who are non-ambulatory due to “fatigue, stress, obdurator nerve paralysis, obesity, or one or more fractured appendages, severed tendons or ligaments, or dislocated joints.”
This bill, introduced by U.S. Reps. Danny Rehberg (R-MT) and Collin Peterson (D-MN), undermines efforts to protect human health and reduce animal suffering. With all due respect, it is nothing more than a “gift” to agribusiness. Farmers and truckers would have free reign to kick, beat, shock, bulldoze and drag sick animals to the killing floor and into America’s kitchens.
Please oppose H.R. 4121 and any legislation that sends downed animals back into the human food supply. Inspectors have no fail-safe method to discern WHY an animal cannot stand or walk in the first place. For example, downed cows in Canada and the U.S. were originally thought to be non-ambulatory as a result of calving injuries, pneumonia, and a broken leg. These same cows tested positive for mad cow disease and initiated worldwide panic.
H.R. 4121 gives inspectors the job of separating sick downers from injured downers. Since illness usually accompanies injury in an impaired animal, legislators must institute a permanent, industry-wide ban on the transport, marketing and slaughter of ALL downed animals. Anything less lets the USDA play a guessing game with the nation’s meat supply.
I strongly encourage you to reject H.R. 4121. Please advocate laws that reduce BSE risk and protect animals from unnecessary suffering. Plainly, it is cruel to force living beings to endure organ failure, broken bones, severed ligaments and open wounds over hours or days. There is no way to mercifully move incapacitated animals. All downers should be euthanized immediately.
I hope I can count on you to support the Downed Animal Protection Act (S. 1298/H.R. 2519) to codify the USDA’s ban as well as cover other species of downed animals and designate humane euthanasia for all. The Consumer and Producer Protection Act’s attempt to weaken restrictions by excluding downers with injuries alone is a step in the wrong direction.
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