A poster created by U.C. Davis for dairy farmers
When a cow is down on our farm, she is isolated and we administer treatment. Food and water is provided to her. All this is done in an effort to maintain her energy level to encourage recovery. If the animal displays no signs of recovery, she must be euthanized. This is not the desired outcome, but occasionally happens.
When euthanasia is necessary, it’s humanely done by my husband or our herd manager using methods recommended by our veterinarian. It’s a task nobody likes, but is a reality of livestock production.
Some people are concerned that downer cows are slaughtered for human consumption. Federal food safety regulation makes sure this doesn’t happen. In 2003, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) banned all downer cattle from the human food chain. This policy prohibits the slaughter of down cows to make certain beef from these animals doesn’t enter the food supply.
There are animal rights groups who claim they are working to ban the practice of downer cows being used for slaughter in Ohio. I’m curious why they want people to believe dower cows are currently being slaughtered for food consumption when it’s clear an existing federal law has been in place for seven years prohibiting this activity.
Animal care and food safety are vital components of what we do each day because the food we produce feeds my family and yours.