skip to main content

H.R. 3704 (112th): Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act

The text of the bill below is as of Dec 16, 2011 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.



1st Session

H. R. 3704


December 16, 2011

(for himself, Mr. King of New York, Mr. Moran, Ms. Jackson Lee of Texas, Mr. George Miller of California, Mrs. Lowey, Mr. Kucinich, Ms. Bordallo, Mr. Blumenauer, Mr. Michaud, and Ms. Schakowsky) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture


To amend the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act of 1958 to ensure the humane slaughter of nonambulatory livestock, 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 livestock in interstate and foreign commerce—


prevents needless suffering;


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


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 livestock; and


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


Declaration of Policy

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


Unlawful slaughter practices involving nonambulatory livestock


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 livestock



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 livestock

The term nonambulatory livestock means any cattle (including calves), sheep, swine, goats, or horses, mules, or other equines, 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 livestock by covered entities, including a requirement that nonambulatory livestock 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 livestock.


Disease testing

Paragraph (1) shall not limit the ability of the Secretary to test nonambulatory livestock for a disease, such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, provided that such livestock are humanely euthanized immediately after such livestock are tested for such disease.




In general

Subject to paragraph (2), a covered entity shall not move nonambulatory livestock.


Disease testing

Notwithstanding paragraph (1), a covered entity may humanely move nonambulatory livestock if required for a specific test for disease if the livestock is unconscious until euthanized in accordance with subsection (c).




In general

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



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



A covered entity who violates a provision of this section shall upon conviction be fined not more than $5,000, imprisoned not more than one year, or both.


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, or which create penalties for conduct regulated by 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).