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Downer Animal Measure Advances in California Assembly

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

(American Meat Institute)

A California Assembly Committee passed a bill last week that would allow authorities to prosecute the operators of meatpacking plants that slaughter weak or diseased cows for food, the Press-Enterprise of Riverside, Calif., reported.

The release of an undercover video showing Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., workers using electric prods and forklifts to get downer cows to go to slaughter caused the February recall of 143 million pounds of beef and this new legislation.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos, whose office is prosecuting workers from the video, said the bill would have given his office the power to go after company officials.

The bill by Democratic state Rep. Paul Krekorian would prohibit the slaughter of downer animals for human consumption and violators would face misdemeanor charges with possible jail time and a fine of up to $20,000.

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