Victory for Downed Farm Animals in California

In March the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a California ban on slaughtering downed animals, or animals who are too sick, weak or injured to stand on their own.

The decision overturns last year’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill, which ruled that a federal food safety law that prevents this from happening means nothing, a decision exemplifying the meat industry’s complete disregard for animal suffering and lack of concern for food safety over profit. 

The new ruling means that the state of California has the right to decide which animals are sent to slaughter and has the ability to ban the sale, transport or purchase of downer cows and pigs, despite protests from the National Meat Association and the American Meat Institute who challenged the law in 2008, arguing that the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) prevents states from having any say in the matter.

“Regulating what kinds of animals may be slaughtered calls for a host of practical, moral and public health judgments that go far beyond those made in the FMIA,” said Chief Judge Alex Kozinski. “These are the kinds of judgments reserved to the states, and nothing in the FMIA requests states to make them on a species-wide basis or not at all. Federal law regulates the meat inspection process; states are free to decide which animals may be turned into meat.”

Aside from the inherent cruelty of kicking, dragging and electrocuting non-ambulatory animals into the slaughterhouse after they’ve suffered miserable lives on factory farms and days of grueling transport, when every animal is treated like a dollar sign, sick ones are going to get into the food supply too. And we all know by now that stressed and sick animals have a much greater risk of harboring bacteria like E.coli and Salmonella, which kill hundreds of people every year.

“The abuse of living, breathing, feeling animals who are too sick, injured and weak to stand is incongruent with Californians’ values of mercy and compassion,” said Farm Sanctuary president and co-founder Gene Baur. “We applaud the Court for refusing to protect the interests of big agribusiness at the expense of the American people and the animals entrusted to our care.”


creative commons


m Shiel
M s5 years ago

who will turn down the bribes to look the other way , letting the practice continue?? what happens to the sick animals?? who determines if they are sick enough to not die in a slaughterhouse but then how do they die??? the dirt,the hot sun,on the frozen ground? ..where???? Why aren't there campaigns with enticing meat free foods equivalent to the meat industry ads that entice people to eat meat?

Doris Muller
Doris Muller5 years ago

GOOD!! It's in line with moving away from corporatocracy.

The meat, dairy, and egg industries, with the blessings of government, have done their best to poison the earth, its animals, and its human population for the almighty dollar. And to all who continue to support these industries with your dollars, to satisfy self-gratification, YOU ARE COMPLICIT!

Many acknowledge the horrors of these industries, from factory farming to slaughter, but, nonetheless, will not deny themselves for the greater good. Compassion for animals should extend to your plate. When that happens, you, the animals, and the planet will be healthier.

Abbe A.
Azaima A5 years ago

wonder who cares for them

Virginia G.

Honestly do not mind if the flesh of these or any animals cause the death of humans. Just terribly sorry for all these creatures which we treat horrifically.

Janel C.
Janel V7 years ago

What happens with the downed animals that they decided not to slaughter for human consumption? Are they turned into pet food? Are they dragged into a corner to die a slow painful death? Humanely euthanized? Lots of info left out.

Kali Sunrise L.
Khadijah Sunrise7 years ago

Bad news :-(

Cindy C.
Cindy C7 years ago

Goodness I hope we can save poor animals. I hope we will be human enough to be kinder to our animals. Thanks for the article by the way xx

Lisa Z.
Lisa Z7 years ago

So totally pitiful!!!

Sini K.
Past Member 7 years ago

Noted and sign !

Alison A.
Alison A7 years ago

It would be nice if people made the correct decision and stuck to it.

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