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California bans meat of downer pigs, cattle

Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has this week signed a bill prohibiting the purchase, sale and processing of meat from downer livestock, including cattle and swine.

Downer animals are live animals that are too weak to walk. Federal law allows the slaughter of downer animals after they are checked out by a veterinarian and deemed 'ambulatory'.

The new bill imposes fines and jail time for processors that sell meat from downer animals.

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Schwarzenegger said, "We are strengthening California's food safety laws and sending a message that violating these laws will not be tolerated."

The bill was set up after a recall of 65 million kg of beef produced by a Californian meat company. This all happened after animal welfare activists had presented a video showing workers abusing downer cows.

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