Iowa Public Television


USDA: 450,000 Downer Cattle in 2004

posted on May 6, 2005

Non-ambulatory cattle and calves in the United States totaled 465,000 head during 2003 and 450,000 head during 2004, USDA reported this week.

Non-ambulatory, or downer, cattle are considered at greater risk for disease, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, and are targeted for testing by USDA. Downer cattle include animals with legs broken during shipment to slaughter.

Following the discovery of a case of BSE in Washington state in December 2003, USDA decided to exclude all cattle classified as downers from slaughter for human consumption.

USDA Secretary Mike Johanns recently called for a review of that policy, saying that no otherwise healthy animal injured during shipment to a slaughterhouse falls into that classification.

Tags: agriculture animals beef cattle diseases food safety government livestock meat news USDA