Stop the Slaughter of Downed Veal Calves


No action needed at this time.


The USDA’s comment period for this proposed rule closed on August 12, 2015. Thank you for your interest in helping nonambulatory veal calves and for letting the USDA know this issue is important.


Stop the Slaughter of Downed Veal Calves - Photo from Farm SanctuaryDear Humanitarian,

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) requires slaughterhouses to promptly euthanize adult cattle who are sick, weak, or injured (known as "downed" cattle), but currently does not provide the same relief to downed veal calves. A loophole allows slaughterhouses to "rest" such calves to see if eventually they can be made to walk. If so, they can be slaughtered for food.

The FSIS is now proposing to close this loophole, which prolongs suffering for terminal downed calves, who are left to languish rather than being promptly euthanized, and for downed calves generally, who are often subject to abuse in an effort to get them to stand and walk. Two undercover investigations of slaughterhouses graphically illustrate the severe abuse this loophole encourages. Workers were documented using electric prods, kicking, dragging, and spraying water at downed calves in order to get them on their feet.

Under new regulations proposed by the FSIS, slaughterhouses will be required to quickly euthanize downed calves—the same as they must do for downed mature cattle. This rule would significantly reduce the kind of cruelty documented in these investigations.

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