Text of the Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act

This bill was introduced on December 16, 2009, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Dec 16, 2009 (Introduced).

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1st Session

H. R. 4356


December 16, 2009

(for himself, Mr. LaTourette, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Israel, Mr. Castle, Ms. Shea-Porter, Mr. Moore of Kansas, Mr. Nadler of New York, Ms. Moore of Wisconsin, Ms. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, Ms. Sutton, Mr. Moran of Virginia, Mr. Shuler, Mr. King of New York, Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Mr. Sherman, Ms. Jackson-Lee of Texas, Mr. Hinchey, Mr. Jackson of Illinois, Mr. Blumenauer, Mrs. Lowey, Ms. Schakowsky, Mr. Kucinich, Mr. George Miller of California, Mr. Michaud, Mr. Crowley, Mr. Gerlach, Mr. Cummings, Mr. Markey of Massachusetts, Mr. Inslee, Mr. Doyle, Mr. Serrano, and Ms. Lee of California) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture


To amend the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958 to ensure the humane slaughter of nonambulatory cattle, and for other purposes.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act.


Finding and declaration of policy



Congress finds that the humane euthanization of nonambulatory cattle in interstate and foreign commerce—


prevents needless suffering;


results in safer and better working conditions for persons handling cattle;


brings about improvement of products and reduces the likelihood of the spread of diseases that have a great and deleterious impact on interstate and foreign commerce in cattle; and


produces other benefits for producers, processors, and consumers that tend to expedite an orderly flow of cattle and cattle products in interstate foreign commerce.


Declaration of Policy

It is the policy of the United States that all nonambulatory cattle in interstate and foreign commerce shall be immediately and humanely euthanized when such cattle become nonambulatory.


Unlawful slaughter practices involving nonambulatory cattle


In General

Public Law 85–765 (commonly known as the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958) (7 U.S.C. 1901 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 2 (7 U.S.C. 1902) the following:


Nonambulatory cattle



In this section:


Covered entity

The term covered entity means—


a stockyard;


a market agency;


a dealer;


a packer;


a slaughter facility; or


an establishment.



The term establishment means an establishment that is covered by the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.).


Humanely euthanize

The term humanely euthanize means to immediately render an animal unconscious by mechanical, chemical, or other means, with this state remaining until the death of the animal.


Nonambulatory cattle

The term nonambulatory cattle means any cattle (including a calf) that will not stand and walk unassisted.



The term Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture.


Humane Treatment, Handling, and Disposition

The Secretary shall promulgate regulations to provide for the humane treatment, handling, and disposition of all nonambulatory cattle by covered entities, including a requirement that nonambulatory cattle be humanely euthanized.


Humane Euthanasia


In general

Subject to paragraph (2), when an animal becomes nonambulatory, a covered entity shall immediately humanely euthanize the nonambulatory cattle.


Disease testing

Paragraph (1) shall not limit the ability of the Secretary to test nonambulatory cattle for a disease, such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.




In general

A covered entity shall not move nonambulatory cattle while the nonambulatory cattle are conscious.



In the case of any nonambulatory cattle that are moved, the covered entity shall ensure that the nonambulatory cattle remain unconscious until death.




In general

It shall be unlawful for an inspector at an establishment to pass through inspection any nonambulatory cattle or carcass (including parts of a carcass) of nonambulatory cattle.



An inspector or other employee of an establishment shall label, mark, stamp, or tag as inspected and condemned any material described in paragraph (1).


Effect on State law

This section shall not be construed to preempt any law or regulation of a State or a political subdivision of a State containing requirements that are greater than the requirements of this section.



Effective Date


In general

Except as provided in paragraph (2), the amendment made by subsection (a) takes effect on the date that is 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.



Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Agriculture shall promulgate final regulations to implement the amendment made by subsection (a).