Fighting for Downer Rights

Animal-welfare organizations are urging the Supreme Court to support a law prohibiting the use of downed animals in a case next month.


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Animal-welfare organizations have filed a brief to the US Supreme Court, asking the judges to reject a lawsuit seeking to restore the use of ‘downed’ farm animals in the food supply. The National Meat Association recently filed a lawsuit to overturn a three-year-old California law that prohibits the buying, selling, or receiving of animals too disabled to walk at slaughterhouses, stockyards, or auctions. Farm Sanctuary, the Humane Farming Association, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund have all signed the brief opposing the NMA’s lawsuit. In addition to being cruel, the practice of slaughtering disabled animals can also be dangerous to the food supply; downer cattle have been shown to carry dangerous pathogens. Oral arguments on the case are scheduled for November 9.

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