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For Immediate Release: 05/24/06

Widespread Abuse of U.S. Farmed Animals Exposed

Investigation of farmed animal transport reveals video evidence of shocking cruelty and lack of legal protection

Sacramento, CA — The Animal Protection Institute (API) and Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) today released the results of a landmark investigation into the transport of live farmed animals throughout the United States, uncovering horrible conditions and long periods of grueling travel. The investigation documented the transport of live cows within the U.S. and the transport of pigs from the U.S. to Mexican slaughterhouses.

Investigators documented animals arriving at and proceeding through auction with broken legs, infected eyes, foaming mouths, and bleeding cuts and sores and animals forced to travel more than 30 hours in hot, overcrowded conditions without food, water or rest. Investigators also filmed the harsh unloading of “cull sows” (mother pigs from factory farms) destined for slaughter, many of whom had difficulty walking, and dead and “downed” animals at auctions.

While Congress has enacted more than 50 statutes regarding animal welfare, only two laws address the welfare of animals used in food production — the 28-Hour Law and the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. Neither of these laws applies to animals transported by truck — the primary way in which farmed animals are transported.

“Farmed animals are typically moved several times during their lives, often over large distances, which causes considerable stress. These animals may endure thousands of miles of travel, many arriving injured or dead at the slaughterhouse. It is a travesty, therefore, that these animals have no legal protection,” says Michelle Thew, API’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our investigation demonstrates that government action is urgently needed to regulate the transport of farmed animals and set a maximum journey time of eight hours”.

Data from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service reveal that more than 250,000 pigs die each year as a result of transport. A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association estimated the average mortality rate for cattle entering feedlots is 12.6 deaths for every 1,000 animals. These numbers do not include the thousands of animals wounded or incapacitated in transport.

“We are appalled at the lack of effective legislation governing the transport of livestock in the U.S.,” says Philip Lymbery, Chief Executive of Compassion in World Farming. “CIWF campaigns globally to implement an eight-hour transport limit and encourages citizens to support this campaign against cruel and unnecessary long-distance journeys for live animals destined for slaughter in the U.S.”

In the light of the evidence uncovered by this investigation, API and CWIF call upon the U.S. government to take action to protect the millions of animals raised as food each year in the United States.

API is a national nonprofit animal advocacy organization working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education. More information about the investigation can be found at www.api4animals.org.

B-roll and still images are available upon request; email press@api4animals.org.

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