July 24, 2008

Farm Sanctuary Applauds Governor Schwarzenegger for Strengthening Legal Protections for Downed Animals in California

Farm Sanctuary

Tricia Barry, 607-583-2225 ext. 233

[email protected]

Farm Sanctuary, the nation's leading farm animal protection organization, today applauded California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for signing Assembly Bill 2098 (AB 2098) into law, which strengthens legal protections for downed animals in the state. AB 2098 outlaws the sale of meat for human consumption from animals too sick or injured to stand, and imposes stiff criminal penalties on those who sell such products. California state assemblyman Paul Krekorian introduced AB 2098 early this year to expand protections and increase penalties for those who abuse downed animals.

This year's high-profile revelation of horrific abuses of cattle at the Hallmark Meat Packing Company in Chino - as well as Farm Sanctuary's own, ongoing documentation of downed animal abuses throughout California during the past two decades - clearly demonstrated an urgent need for better regulation. Farm Sanctuary was instrumental in getting initial downer legislation passed in California in 1994. At the time, this law was a landmark in downer legislation, setting a precedent for downer laws passed in other states. However, further investigations in California revealed that the law was regularly violated with minimal enforcement at stockyards and slaughterhouses throughout the state, and thusly became an inadequate deterrent of ongoing abuse.

"Every year in the U.S., countless thousands of downed animals are beaten, abused or otherwise tortured to move them to the killing floor, or discarded and left to prolonged suffering," said Julie Janovsky, Farm Sanctuary's director of campaigns. "These animals endure egregious abuse when they are at their most weakened state. With this legislation now in place in California, workers who abuse downed animals or the companies that employ them will be held accountable for their actions. We encourage federal legislators to implement similar measures on a national scale."

San Bernardino District Attorney Michael Ramos stated that had this bill been existing law, his office would have been able to prosecute the company - not just the two workers who were ordered to engage in the brutality at the Hallmark slaughter plant.

More information on pending federal legislation related to downed animals can be found at www.farmsanctuary.org/issues/legislation. More information on the history of Farm Sanctuary's No Downers Campaign can be found at www.nodowners.org/timeline.htm.

Farm Sanctuary is the nation's leading farm animal protection organization. Since incorporating in 1986, Farm Sanctuary has worked to expose and stop cruel practices of the "food animal" industry through research and investigations, legal and institutional reforms, public awareness projects, youth education, and direct rescue and refuge efforts. Farm Sanctuary shelters in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Orland, Calif., provide lifelong care for hundreds of rescued animals, who have become ambassadors for farm animals everywhere by educating visitors about the realities of factory farming. Additional information can be found at http:// www.farmsanctuary.org or by calling 607-583-2225.

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