The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is requesting comments on two petitions for rulemaking submitted to the agency by animal rights groups aimed at reforming the agency’s policies on non-ambulatory disabled livestock at slaughter.

A petition submitted by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) requests that FSIS repeal a provision in its ante-mortem inspection regulations that permits veal calves that are unable to rise from a recumbent position and walk because they are tired or cold to be set apart and held for treatment. Such calves are permitted to proceed to slaughter if they are able to rise and walk after being warmed or rested.

The HSUS has petitioned FSIS to amend the regulations to require that non-ambulatory disabled veal calves be condemned and promptly and humanely euthanized.

A second petition, submitted by Farm Sanctuary, requests that the agency amend the Federal meat inspection regulations to prohibit the slaughter of non-ambulatory disabled pigs, sheep, goats, and other amenable livestock.

In addition to requesting comments on the petitions, the agency is clarifying its requirements for condemned non-ambulatory disabled cattle at official slaughter establishments.

Comments will be accepted until April 8th. For information on submitting comments, see the Federal Register.