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Downed animal usage


Our beef industry slaughters at least 35 million animals each year. Most are herded through a processing line. However, cattle that are unable to stand or walk to slaughter are called “downed animals.” Some of these animals are just scared, tired, suffering from old age or have been injured during transport to the processing plant. Slaughterhouses often assume that these causes, not illness or disease, are the reasons these animals are immobile. It is illegal to process animals that are ill or diseased. Downed animals are usually pushed or pulled, often by tractor and chain, to their inevitable destination. It is estimated there are about 130,000 downed animals slaughtered for food every year.

Animal welfare advocates say there is no way to humanely move downed cattle without causing injury. Health advocates say downed animals should not be used for human consumption since they may be diseased.

Proposed Legislation: H.R.3704 - Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act (112th Congress 2011-2012)
Prospective Sponsor: Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (TX)












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Poll Opening Date
December 6, 2021
Poll Closing Date
December 12, 2021


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