WASHINGTON (AP) â€” The government said Thursday it will permanently ban the slaughter of cattle for human food if they cannot stand or walk, a possible sign of mad cow disease, but is exempting some animals in that condition. The Agriculture Department said the ban will be effective Oct. 1. The regulation does allow cows to be processed if they become unable to stand or walk after their initial inspection at a plant.
The Humane Society of the United States objects to this exception.
Allowing such animals to be processed is “cruel and does not establish the food safety standards USDA should strive to meet,” said the group’s president and chief executive, Wayne Pacelle.
The department put interim rules in place less than three weeks after the detection of mad cow disease, known Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, in an imported cow in December 2003.