Senator Feinstein Raises Serious Concerns About Latest Humane Society Video Showing Downed Animals at Stockyard Auctions
– Again Urges USDA to conduct industry-wide investigation–
May 07 2008
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today urged the Department of Agriculture to conduct an industry-wide investigation, following the release of a video which documented cases of animal cruelty at livestock auctions and stockyard facilities in Maryland, New Mexico, Texas and Pennsylvania.
“This is further evidence that oversight to ensure the humane treatment of animals destined for our food supply is inadequate. Food animals should never be subject to the kind of horrible acts as witnessed in these videos and reported by concerned citizens,” Senator Feinstein said.
The video, released today by the Humane Society of the United States, comes several months after another Humane Society video documented animal cruelty and illegal activity at the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company’s meat packing plant in Chino, California. In February, the USDA ordered a record recall of 143 million pounds of beef and shut down the plant.
Senator Feinstein has co-sponsored legislation with Senators Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to shut down slaughter facilities that repeatedly process downed animals. The legislation also calls for stiff fines and one-year shutdowns for first-and second-time violators.
Following is the text of the letter sent by Senator Feinstein to USDA Secretary Ed Schafer:
May 7, 2008
The Honorable Ed Schafer
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary Schafer:
I was appalled to hear of incidents of animal cruelty that occurred at livestock auctions and stockyard facilities in Maryland, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Texas. These abuses were again documented in video footage released on May 7, 2008 by the Humane Society of the United States.
This is further evidence that oversight to ensure the humane treatment of animals destined for our food supply is inadequate. Food animals should never be subject to the kind of horrible acts as witnessed in these videos and reported by concerned citizens.
Again, I call on you, Mr. Secretary, to address both the animal cruelty acts related to these incidents, and the food safety threats posed by the actions of the employees at these auction and stockyard facilities.
I ask you to conduct an industry-wide investigation to assess the degree that animal cruelty is occurring in the food animal supply chain. We simply cannot go on allowing these actions to occur.
United States Senator