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HSUS INVESTIGATION REVEALS NEED FOR 'NO DOWNER' POLICY AT STOCKYARDS

HSUS INVESTIGATION REVEALS NEED FOR 'NO DOWNER' POLICY AT STOCKYARDS
 WASHINGTON, March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- An ongoing, nationwide investigation of livestock markets by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has revealed that industry self-regulation of downed animals is not working and that the nation's stockyards need a "no downer" policy. A downer is an animal too sick or crippled to walk on its own.
 "Abuse and neglect of extremely ill and suffering downed animals was witnessed at three-fourths of the markets that accepted downers," said HSUS investigator Eric Sakach. Sakach testified before a House agriculture subcommittee today during a hearing on the Packers and Stockyards Act.
 The abuses Sakach cited included:
 -- A downed cow which was winched by the neck onto a transport cart.
 -- A very ill, downed calf that was dragged by a back leg into an aisleway, then a couple of hours later dragged back out and left to die (which it did later that afternoon).
 -- A downed calf being first dragged by the leg and then by the ear some 300 feet to an auction ring, sold for $20, then put into a pen with 20 healthy calves.
 -- Two downed calves trampled by their healthy penmates for over four hours before dying.
 "Industry maintains that downers only amount to .1 percent of livestock traded," Sakach testified. "But this represents about 68,000 ill and disabled animals a year being subjected to handling and transport."
 Downed animals transported to auctions fetched as little as $5- $10. One dying calf was sold to a meat packer for $2.
 Downed animals are not protected by federal law, since the Animal Welfare Act does not cover farm animals used to provide clothing and food. Sakach urged the committee to adopt an amendment to the Packers and Stockyards Act specifically addressing the handling of downed animals.
 According to Dr. Melanie Adcock, HSUS director for farm animals, a "no downer" policy has been adopted by United Markets Corporation and several other livestock markets. The National Pork Producers Council, The Livestock Conservation Institute, the Minnesota Livestock Marketing Association and the Independent Cattleman's Association of Texas are all either asking markets to refuse downed animals or discouraging the shipment of downed animals to livestock markets.
 "We commend those in the industry who have taken a strong stand on downers and are working to correct the problem," said Sakach. "Unfortunately, our investigation has shown that downed animals are still being mistreated. A national 'no downer' policy will ensure that these animals do not have to endure additional suffering in transport and livestock markets."
 -0- 3/5/92
 /CONTACT: Laura K. Chapin of The Humane Society of the United States, 202-452-1100/ CO: The Humane Society of the United States ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


SB-DC -- DC009 -- 5355 03/05/92 10:15 EST
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Date:Mar 5, 1992
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