Senate Takes First Step In Downed Animal
by Charlotte LoBuono and Patricia
The U.S. Senate has passed legislation to
prohibit the USDA from funding the slaughter of downed farm
animals for human consumption. Downed animals are considered
to be cows, horses, pigs, and sheep that are too ill to stand
or walk unassisted.
On November 5, the Senate passed Amendment
2088 to H.R. 2673, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food
and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations
Act for fiscal year 2004.
The legislation was co-sponsored by Senators
Akaka (D-HI), Cantwell (D-WA), Levin (D-MI), and Lieberman
When the House discussed the legislation,
downed animal protection language was defeated by a 3-vote
margin, so the bill will now be discussed in committee.
Representatives from Farm Sanctuary, a national,
non profit organization that develops campaigns to end exploitation
of animals raised for food said, "We are elated with the passage
in the U.S. Senate, but this proposal now faces a challenging
deliberation in the conference committee."
"NoDowners", Farm Sanctuary's campaign
to support the downed animal bills, was designed to stand
up for voiceless farm animals.
According to representatives working on the
NoDowners campaign, "Downed animals are not protected from
abuse under federal animal welfare laws and most state anti-cruelty
These laws exclude 'normal agricultural operation'
and so any act, no matter how cruel, is legal as long as it
is considered 'business as usual.'"
The current legislation sits apart from the
Downed Animal Protection Act, which has not yet been up for
a vote on the floor of either the House or the Senate.
According to Farm Sanctuary, both bills can
work to prevent downed farm animals from mistreatment.
While Amendment 2088 primarily addresses the
fiscal aspect of downed animals by disallowing the USDA to
fund the slaughter of downed animals for human food, the Downed
Animal Protection Act, H.R. 2519 and S. 1298, will require
critically ill or injured farm animals to be humanely euthanized
and not slaughtered for food.
© 2003 Animal News Center, Inc.