Patt Morrison for January 23, 2012

Supreme Court blocks California law banning slaughter of downed livestock

A group of cows wait for slaughter 29 De


A group of cows wait for slaughter on December, 29th 2003, in a lot near Kearsey, Colorado.

The Supreme Court today overruled a California law that would require slaughterhouses to euthanize “downed livestock,” rather than slaughtering them to prevent their meat from entering the nation’s food system. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that California’s law interferes with federal law administered by the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. California passed the so-called “downer law” after the Humane Society released undercover footage of workers abusing cows at a Southern California slaughterhouse in 2008. The law banned the buying, selling and slaughtering of downed cattle, pigs, sheep and goats, but it was pork producers who ultimately sued to stop the law. A federal judge agreed and blocked the law, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the hold and today the Supreme Court Justices overturned that decision.


How many animals does this affect and what impact does it have on our food system? What precedent does this set for state rights in the matter?


Steven Cuevas, KPCC’s Inland Empire reporter

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