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Statement

Release No. 0121.08
Contact:
USDA Office of Communications (202)720-4623

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Statement by USDA Secretary Ed Schafer on HSUS Animal Cruelty Video

WASHINGTON, D.C. May 7, 2008 "Late last week, the Humane Society of the United States notified me that they were in the early stages of an investigation into the mistreatment of farm animals transported to livestock auctions and stockyards. The dairy cattle shown in the video were non-ambulatory and were abandoned in parking lots of these auctions and yards. These animals were not in slaughter facilities. However, even though this is not a food safety issue, these actions of animal cruelty are not acceptable.

"USDA's authority to regulate the treatment of animals includes the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and the Animal Welfare Act. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act protects animals when they are presented for slaughter at federally inspected establishments. The Animal Welfare Act allows us to ensure the proper care of live animals when used in biomedical research, testing, and exhibition. When animals fall within our authorities, USDA acts to prevent animal cruelty such as this.

Policies for humane handling of animals, however, consist of a combined effort of federal, state, and local authorities, as well as private industry. Since learning about this investigation, we are reaching out to states and industry groups to address this issue.

"In my conversation with the Humane Society last week, I expressed my sincere desire to work with them to resolve these atrocities, and I trust USDA was given all the information HSUS has on this issue so we can thoroughly address it. It is essential that we work together in good faith to address these issues, and ensure that animals are treated with care and dignity."