The Humane Society of the United States has petitioned USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to prohibit the common practice of warming veal calves to permit them time to rest and become ambulatory. The Farm Sanctuary petition seeks for any livestock that are non-ambulatory for any reason when they arrive at plants to be immediately euthanized. In comments filed with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service the American Meat Institute urged the agency to reject both petitions.
The petitioners have argued that when livestock are unable to walk, an incentive exists for plant personnel to abuse the animals and force them to walk. AMI’s comments deconstructed that argument by showing the strong incentives that exist to ensure an animal’s welfare, both in terms of the quality benefits and in terms of the costs attendant to lost production time when regulatory actions are taken in response to inhumane treatment of livestock.
AMI says - granting the petitions would result in unnecessary waste with no identifiable benefit. AMI also noted that granting the Farm Sanctuary petition, in particular, would impede disease surveillance and could cause confusion if a non-ambulatory hog that is simply tired and refusing to rise becomes ambulatory before a veterinarian arrives to check it.