American Humane Commends New USDA Downer Regulations

American Humane Association
Wednesday, 7 January 2004

In a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman, American Humane today commended the USDA for introducing new policies to ban downer animals from entering the human food chain, saying the new regulations may prevent the suffering of thousands of animals annually.

For years, American Humane has advocated for a ban on the shipment and slaughter of downed animals citing the threat to human health and the pain experienced by the animals. Now American Humane is also urging the USDA to promptly implement language in the pending Downed Animal Protection Act mandating the humane euthanasia of downed animals.

"The decision by the USDA to ban downed animals represents a milestone in farm animal welfare and we look forward to the further implementation of the Downed Animal Protection Act," says Suzanne Barnard, American Humane's vice president of public policy.

In 2000, American Humane set the benchmark for the humane treatment of farm animals in the United States by launching Free Farmedô, the nation's first certification and labeling program to assure consumers that they are purchasing products from humanely raised animals.

The farm animal welfare standards established by American Humane to guide Free Farmed have always maintained a no downer policy. In addition, the Free Farmed standards prohibit feedstuffs containing animal proteins being fed back to animals, a practice associated with Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease) in cattle.

"The farmers and ranchers certified by the Free Farmed program continually raise the bar for the treatment of farm animals in North America by placing the welfare of their animals first. Consumers who purchase Free Farmed products are casting a vote for the humane treatment of farm animals and supporting good animal husbandry practices that may prevent threats to human health," says Elena M. Metro, manager of American Humane's Free Farmed program.

For more information, or to contact American Humane Association, see their website at:

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