The Humane Society is suing the USDA over downed cows.
The Humane Society sued the federal government Wednesday over what it said is a legal loophole that allows sick or crippled cattle, called "downers," into the food supply.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture rule change made in July allows some downer cows into the food supply, the Humane Society of the United States alleges in its lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
In 2004, the USDA tightened regulations to prohibit the slaughter of all "downer" cows — animals that cannot stand — after a case of mad cow disease was discovered in Washington state. The lawsuit alleges that under last year's change, cows that fell down after an initial veterinarian inspection but appeared otherwise healthy were allowed to be slaughtered.