USDA Bans Downer Cows from Food Supply

Good news! After nearly a year of promises, and under apparent pressure from the Obama administration, the USDA has finally instituted a ban on downer cows in the US food supply. nice-cowMore than a year ago, the Humane Society publicly disclosed horrific stories related to the practice of slaughtering "down cattle" (cattle unable to stand up on their own), described in this excellent post from Gourmet Magazine:

Slaughtering such animals was exceptionally cruel; meat packing plant employees jabbed sick cows with electric prods, kicked them, and hoisted them to their feet with forklifts in order to get them to stumble a few yards to the “knock box.” Not only that, but slaughtering these cows also had potentially adverse health effects. Of 19 known cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (aka mad cow disease) in the United States, fully 15 incidents involved downers.

Finally, this practice has been banned. Thank goodness! But more than ever, I'm convinced that legislation, though important, is just too dang slow. By paying more attention to the food we eat, by sharing what we learn, and by forcing each other to be more aware and make more conscious choices, we can move even faster.