The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been criticized for not totally banning "downer" cows -- animals "too sick or hurt to stand for slaughter" -- from the food supply. So "when a coalition of major industry groups reversed their position and joined animal advocates and several lawmakers in calling for an absolute ban," why wouldn't the USDA agree? Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer hasn't responded to the new stance of the American Meat Institute and other industry groups. So, industry leaders are encouraging meat producers to institute their own voluntary ban. But the Humane Society of the United States says a total ban is needed and "the USDA should take immediate action." The limited regulation of downer cows was instituted after mad cow disease was found in the U.S. and Canada. CMD staffers John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton wrote about the issue in their 1997 book "Mad Cow USA."
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