The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is under fire yet again thanks to whistle-blower Dean Wyatt. A supervisory veterinarian for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), Wyatt testified before members of Congress last Thursday, stating that he has been chastised and undermined by the FSIS for just doing his job. Wyatt claims he was overruled and reprimanded for citing slaughterhouses for violations, including shocking and butchering days-old calves too sick or weak to stand and illegally butchering pigs while they were still conscious. Despite laws and regulations against these practices, the USDA has turned a blind eye toward these egregious abuses.
Butchering downed cattle for food violates USDA regulations. Animals who are too sick or weak even to stand can be ridden with illness and disease, and allowing these incapacitated animals into the food supply poses a danger to human health. Among the ailments that could afflict these sick animals is mad cow disease, which was confirmed in the U.S. in a downed cow in 2003.
The slaughter of downed animals for human food is grossly inhumane. These sick animals are commonly denied necessary veterinary attention and suffer unconscionable cruelties at the hands of slaughterhouse workers who use any means necessary to get these animals onto the killing floor, from kicking and beating to shocking and dragging. Additionally, the idea of animals, whether they are downed or not, being butchered and cut up while still alive is intolerable. This is animal abuse and it must stop. Like cats and dogs, farm animals experience pain and suffering and deserve to be protected from cruelty.
In March of last year, the Obama administration placed a ban on sick and injured cattle entering the food supply. But thousands of pigs, goats and sheep – and cattle, as Wyatt has reported – face this fate every single day. This latest news underscores the need for a federal ban on all downed animals entering the food supply. Tell President Obama and the USDA to end the routine abuse of all downed farm animals, including pigs. Spread the word and sign our Petition for the Pigs today.