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American Meat Institute Files Citizen Petition to Keep All Non-ambulatory Cattle out of Food Supply

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The American Meat Institute, along with the National Meat Association and the National Milk Producers Federation, today filed a Citizen Petition with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service requesting that the agency amend the rules so that nonambulatory, disabled cattle are not permitted into the meat supply in any circumstance.
Specifically, the petition requests that 9 CFR 309.3 be amended to eliminate the provision that authorizes a public health veterinarian to allow, in limited circumstances, cattle that become non-ambulatory after passing ante-mortem inspection to enter the food supply.

Consistent with this request, AMI and NMA pledged to encourage companies to engage in a voluntary moratorium regarding the slaughter and processing of such non-ambulatory cattle until FSIS has promulgated a final rule effecting the requested change.

 The petition references the benefits and efficiencies that can be gleaned from eliminating the need to have a public health veterinarian come out to reexamine an animal that becomes non-ambulatory after passing ante-mortem inspection.  The requested change also will benefit U.S trade negotiators as they attempt to reopen beef markets that have been closed for far too long. 
“It makes good sense that the provision  that allows non-ambulatory cattle to be reinspected for slaughter be rescinded,” said AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle.  “Allowing the current rule to remain in force could ultimately undermine the confidence of U.S. consumers and foreign customers, in markets that are proving difficult to reopen in the first place,” he added.  

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