In this file: 


·         USDA denies petition for euthanasia of downer pigs

·         Downer pigs will continue to get extra time to recover



USDA denies petition for euthanasia of downer pigs

Undeterred by food safety concerns, the USDA has denied a petition to reduce the time that non-ambulatory disabled (NAD) pigs spend in lairage.


The Pig Site

20 September 2019


The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced that it will not be changing it's policy on dealing with NAD pigs after it denied a petition asking for "downer" pigs to be immediately condemned and "promptly euthanised".


The petition, submitted by Farm Sanctuary, claims that the prompt slaughter of NAD pigs would "enhance food safety" and and result in "more humane handling" by reducing the exposure of the pigs to faecal matter and other pathogens commonly encountered in the holding pen.


NAD pigs generally spend more time in holding to "cool down" and "rest" post-transportation as their non-ambulatory state is usually a temporary, reversible state of "profound fatigue", according to FSIS. However, Farm Sanctuary believes that antemortem condemnation of NAD pigs would be a safer, more ethical practice. They argue that inspectors would not be able to detect diseases, such as H1N1 flu, which pigs could be at more risk of exposure to the more time they spend in holding...





Downer pigs will continue to get extra time to recover


By Dan Flynn, Food Safety News by Marler Clark

September 20, 2019


USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service isn’t changing the way it deals with non-ambulatory disabled pigs.


An animal activist organization, Farm Sanctuary, had petitioned FSIS to have non-ambulatory disabled pigs (NADs) immediately condemned and “promptly euthanized.”


But in an eight-page response, FSIS officially denied the petition on Sept. 16.


FSIS said the Farm Sanctuary petition claims that quicking killing NAD pigs would “enhance food safety” and result in “more humane handling,” and would improve inspector efficiency at swine slaughter establishments.


Farm Sanctuary argued that NAD pigs are more likely to be contaminated with Salmonella and other pathogens. Generally, that is because NAD pigs spend more time “in lairage” or on the way to market than fully healthy animals.


The petition contained examples of holding time outcomes.


”The petition asserts that NAD pigs are held longer than other pigs in lairage and exposed to more fecal matter because they are not able to rise from the holding pen floor,” says the decision letter.


Farm Sanctuary further claimed that antemortem condemnation of NAD pis is necessary to reduce the risk of product contamination.


In denying the petition, however, FSIS said there is no data to show a higher public health risk from NAD pigs that passed antemortem and post-mortem inspections when compared to ambulatory pigs.


Roberta F. Wagner, the assistant administrator for the FSIS Office of Policy and Program Development, said the condemnation of NAD pigs is not warranted on account of food safety because safeguards are in place and effect.


Nor did Wagner agree with the Farm Sanctuary assertion that NAD pigs are more likely to carry swine flu, H1N1 and H3N2...