USDA Food Safety Inspection Service rules non-ambulatory disabled pigs (NADs) will not be required to be promptly euthanized, as a petition from Farm Sanctuary requested.
Hogs can become fatigued in transport and temporarily become non-ambulatory, according to an article on the USDA FSIS ruling published in Food Safety News. The current USDA FSIS position allows a recovery period for NADs before an inspector makes a final decision on the animal’s fate. However, the petition filed by Farm Sanctuary said doing so poses a food safety risk.
“The petition asserts that NAD pigs are held longer than other pigs in lairage and exposed to more fecal matter because they are not able to rise from the holding pen floor,” the decision letter says.
Roberta F. Wagner, assistant administrator for the FSIS Office of Policy and Program Development says she disagrees with the petition’s claim NADs increase risk of swine flu, H1N1 and H3N2, the article reports.
“FSIS disagrees with the assertion that FSIS inspectors are unlikely to detect these diseases in NAD pigs,” Wagner wrote. “Swine influenza is characterized by sudden onset, coughing, difficulty breathing, fever, and prostration – all of which are quite evident during the antemortem inspection, regardless of whether the animal is ambulatory or NAD, and affected animals are condemnable…”
According to its website, Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 “to combat the abuses of factory farming and encourage a new awareness and understanding about farm animals.”