Farm Sanctuary, a farm animal protection organization, is petitioning the administration to issue regulations to “put an end” to the abuse to prevent “downer” animals from entering the food supply. Farm Sanctuary said, “The abuse of living, breathing, feeling pigs who (that) are too sick, injured and weak to stand is incongruent with our values of mercy and compassion.” Also, they are urging that USDA “extend legal protections to downed pigs and all farm animals.” USDA testified a few years back that “fatigued” hogs to do not pose a risk to the food supply.

Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection — Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-NY) plans to reintroduce the “Downed Animal and Food Safety Protection Act.” The proposed legislation would codify existing USDA regulations that prevent downed cattle – sick, diseased or injured cattle incapable of supporting their own body weight – from entering the food supply and requires that these animals be humanely euthanized. The legislation would close a loophole in the regulation that permits the slaughter of downed calves for human consumption.

Senate Passes Health Care — The Senate passed one of President Barack Obama’s major legislative initiatives, health care reform, on Christmas Eve. The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” passed the Senate on a party line vote of 60-39. Democrats say the bill provides comprehensive health reform, decreases the number of uninsured, and increases access to affordable health care. The House and Senate Republican leaders vowed to continue to fight this legislation, which they say would increase premiums, cut Medicare benefits, and add to the national debt. Now the bill goes to a conference committee to resolve the differences between the House-passed version and the Senate-passed version.

Trade Negotiations — U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has notified Congress that President Barrack Obama plans to enter into negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. The first round of negotiations will be held in March 2010. The trade negotiations will include the United State, Peru, Chile, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei and Vietnam.

P. Scott Shearer
Vice President
Bockorny Group
Washington, D.C.