The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently accepting public comments on a proposition to extend “downer” rights to animals raised for human consumption. As the law currently stands, “downer” cows (those too sick or weak to stand up and walk on their own) must be humanely euthanized and cannot be slaughtered for consumption; other animals, however, are not protected. Last year, Farm Sanctuary asked the USDA to extend the rules to pigs, sheep, goats, and other animals and has started a petition to increase support. Farm Sanctuary estimates that as many as 850,000 downed pigs are killed each year.
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