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US Supreme Court blocks Calif. slaughterhouse law

Westland Hallmark Packing Plant in Chino, Calif.
January 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
There are new developments in a scandal that rocked a meat packing plant in Chino.

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned a California law on Monday that would require euthanizing "downer" livestock at federally inspected slaughterhouses.

The law came after a 2008 video of sick animals abused at Westland Hallmark Packing Plant led to its closure, and the largest beef recall in U.S. history.

Justices ruled unanimously that the law encroached on federal laws that don't require immediate euthanizing.

Under California law, the ban on buying, selling and slaughtering of downer cattle also extended to pigs, sheep and goats.

Pork producers sued to stop the law, saying it interfered with federal laws that require inspections of downed livestock before determining whether they can be used for meat.

The Federal Meat Inspection Act allows a federal meat inspector to examine and then determine whether a downed animal is fit to be slaughtered for meat. It also says states cannot add requirements "in addition to or different than" its requirements.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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