Following this week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the slaughter of non-ambulatory livestock, there is some lingering confusion about the slaughter of non-ambulatory cattle. In short, the court’s ruling that California law cannot be stricter than federal law does not affect the slaughter of non-ambulatory cattle because federal regulations already prohibit the slaughter and sale of meat from cattle that are unable to walk. But federal law allows meat sales from other non-ambulatory animals, like pigs, sheep and goats that pass federal inspection and are deemed safe to eat.
The following is a statement from California Cattlemen’s Association President Kevin Kester, a beef producer from Parkfield, Calif., stressing that the new ruling is not an issue related to the slaughter of beef as some have indicated:
“This week, the U.S. Supreme Court said the ban on the sale of pork from non-ambulatory or "sleeping" hogs, those that are too weak to walk before being slaughtered, can't be enforced because a less stringent federal law regulates slaughterhouse inspections. This decision was made primarily regarding the slaughter of pigs and does not change the way that beef is harvested in California or across the nation.
I want to make clear that the new ruling does not relieve cattle producers, auction yards or packing houses from the responsibility of treating sick or crippled animals ethically, humanely and in accordance with state and federal statues. It continues to be illegal to sell and slaughter downer cattle.
In 2008, the California Cattlemen’s Association supported efforts to ban the sale and slaughter of downer livestock and today, beef producers continue to follow those rules and work daily to provide humane care for their cattle.”
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Court ruling won't affect beef industry
From the California Cattlemen's Association: