October 3, 2008
The Senate this week rejected a motion to proceed to the Economic Stimulus package (S. 3604), which includes language that would ban non-ambulatory disabled cattle from entering the food supply. The measure was rejected by a vote of 52 to 42. The language also included additional civil money penalties that go beyond those already established through the Federal Meat Inspection Act. Sixty votes were required for the Senate to proceed to debate and consideration of the bill.
On Aug. 27, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a proposed rule banning non-ambulatory cattle from the food supply. Since early 2004, non-ambulatory cattle that arrive at packing plants have been prohibited from the meat supply. However, USDA has permitted animals that arrive ambulatory, pass veterinary inspection and become non-ambulatory because of acute injury to undergo a second inspection. On a case by case basis, some healthy, but non-ambulatory cattle have entered the meat supply with federal veterinary approval.