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Animal Welfare Requirements For Federal Meat Purchases

Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chris Shays (R-CT) have introduced H.R. 1726, the "Farm Animal Stewardship Purchasing Act," which would require the federal government to purchase meat, dairy, and egg products from producers who meet certain animal welfare standards. The bill would require animals to be:

  • "Provided adequate space to stand, lie down, move his or her head freely, turn around completely, and fully extend all limbs or wings without touching any part of an enclosure or another animal;
  • "Provided daily access to adequate food and water sufficient to ensure the health and well-being of the covered animal without forced feeding or feed withdrawal;
  • "Provided adequate veterinary care, including prompt treatment or humane euthanasia of a sick or injured covered animal; and
  • "In the case of a covered animal that is a mammal, the offspring of a dam that was kept in compliance with paragraphs (1) through (3) during the pregnancy yielding such offspring."
In introducing the bill, DeFazio said, "Increasingly, Americans are demanding we curb the most abusive factory farming practices. As a significant buyer of farm animal products, the federal government can and should help lead the way, encouraging better practices within the industry." The legislation would cover meat purchases for federal programs such as school lunch, school breakfast, prisons and military.
-- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent