A covertly captured video by a Humane Society employee, showing the pitiable plight of a downer, making its way into a Westland- Hallmark slaughterhouse, may come as a shock to many beef lovers.
The video explicitly portrayed the ill treatment of the animal by the workers prior to slaughter. Absolutely livid, The Humane Society of the United States has called for immediate action by the Food and Drug Administration to forbid the slaughter of downers. Meat from infected cows poses a huge health risk to humans.
Now, beef lovers cannot but doubt the origin of their favorite meat, which could be from a downer, who is frail either due to age or ill health, and therefore finds itself in the slaughter house.
Among the many senators who are peeved with the revelation, Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, has called for a ban on the entry of unhealthy cows into the food supply. "These images exposed wholly unacceptable gaps in American meat inspection systems. Despite the presence of five inspectors at the Westland/Hallmark plant, blatant violations had evidently occurred for some time ... I think we need a more foolproof system," Kohl said.
Earlier in 2004, The USDA had forbidden the slaughter of downers owing to the threat of mad cow disease. This law was slightly loosened in 2007, which allowed the slaughter of such cows after they were certified 'safe for consumption' by veterinarians.
Critics have been quick to question how veterinarians could possibly detect cows suffering mad cow disease without specific tests.
In The United States, private organizations including meat packers are disallowed from conducting any examination of bovine for mad cow disease.