Downed animals are animals that are too sick, or disabled, to stand.
It is impossible to move a downed farm animal humanely,so they are dragged with chains, shocked with electric prods or pushed with forklifts. They are also pulled by their tails or ears to cause them pain. The hope is the pain will motivate them to get up, or at least drag themselves.
In order to be used for food, animals must be alive when arriving for slaughter. Sounds a bit odd doesn’t it? In any case, downed animals are left to suffer, sometimes for days, until they are killed. No veterinary care is offered, as that would be considered a waste of money.
Did you guess what was going to be written next? That’s right – these animals are in the food chain, and have been part of your dinner. It is also more common than you imagine.
There is an increased risk of bacterial contamination and disease, including Mad Cow, from eating downed animals.
It has been suggested by industry experts, that as many as 90% of cases could be prevented through better care, as well as more humane handling and transportation methods.
A 2007 review estimated the number of downed cattle, in the U.S., to number around 500,000 (per year). Dairy cows seem to make up approximately 75% of that number.
In 2006 there were 103 million pigs slaughtered; between .1%-.9% (103,000-927,000) were downed pigs.
In 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) finally closed a loophole, preventing downed cattle from entering the human food chain. What about all the other species of animals, suffering on factory farms across the country?
The USDA should offer the same protection to all animals raised for food.
To help protect other animals raised for food, please click here
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