In his weekly address, President Barack Obama announced two measures to protect the American people from disease and protect injured animals from abuse.
The Department of Agriculture will invest in the FDA to substantially increase the number of food inspectors and modernize food safety labs.
The department will also close a loophole to prevent “downer” cows from entering the food supply — “downers” are cattle too sick or injured to walk, which often harbor diseases.
The decision is the fruit of many years of lobbying on the part of The Humane Society of the United States, which has been pressing for serious reform on the issue for many years.
Besides the obvious public health risks of allowing downers in the food supply, the animals suffer terribly when workers try to force them, by merciless physical abuse, to move toward the slaughter line.
After decades of working to protect farm animals and people, the Humane Society’s 2008 investigation at the Hallmark Plant in Chino, Ca., led to the historic beef recall and the closing of that plant. Closing the downer loophole is the final chapter in this investigation.
Obama called food safety “something I take seriously, not just as your President, but as a parent.”
“I’ve often said that I don’t believe government has the answer to every problem or that it can do all things for all people. But there are certain things that we can’t do on our own. There are certain things only a government can do. And one of those things is ensuring that the foods we eat, and the medicines we take, are safe and don’t cause us harm.”
For more info on the history of this issue, visit the Humane Society Factory Farming website.
Thanks to Shanti for the story tip!