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Political Landscape:

Official says carrier flew faulty craft

April 05, 2008

Following Boutris’ testimony, Southwest Airlines Executive Chairman Herb Kelleher told the congressional panel that “safety is the top priority. The need to be safe is part of our history, our culture and our company DNA. Being safe is the right thing to do, and it is the law.”

Committee has tainted meat in its cross hairs

The Assembly Public Safety Committee on Tuesday approved legislation by Assemblyman Paul Krekorian that would outlaw the sale of meat from “downed” animals for human consumption.

Krekorian introduced the bill in response to reports of abuse of ill cattle in a Southern California slaughterhouse that led to the largest meat recall in U.S. history.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture recalled 143-million pounds of beef on Feb. 17 after the Humane Society of the United States released undercover video showing workers at Chino-based Hallmark/ Westland Meat Co. forcing sick cows to stand with forklifts, electric prods and high-pressure water hoses.

The plant provided meat to school districts throughout Southern California, including Glendale Unified School District, though there have been no reports of tainted beef traced back to the plant.

The Department of Agriculture, which oversees slaughterhouse operations, already bans meat processors from putting “downer” animals — those that are too sick to stand — into the food supply because ill animals carry a higher risk of mad cow disease and other illnesses, Krekorian’s office said.

But Krekorian’s bill would levy a $20,000 fine and impose up to a year sentence in county jail on packaging plants that sell meat from downer cattle, swine, sheep or goats.

“This legislation will protect the public from potentially deadly tainted meat, protect farm animals from cruel and inhumane treatment and protect the reputation of the California beef industry,” Krekorian said in a statement.

“California cannot allow unscrupulous slaughterhouse operators to endanger the safety of America’s food supply and engage in grotesquely cruel practices to squeeze out a few more dollars of profit.”

The bill passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee with a 6-1 vote and will next be considered in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Congressman names Women of the Year

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