Booker Introduces NO SHT Act, Bill to Stop the Feeding of Excrement to Livestock on Factory Farms

Booker Introduces NO SHT Act, Bill to Stop the Feeding of Excrement to Livestock on Factory Farms

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the NO Stool in Herds’ Troughs (NO SHT) Act, legislation aimed at eliminating the egregious factory farm practice of adding animal excrement to livestock feed. This measure comes in the wake of the recent avian flu outbreak that has spread to cow herds across the United States, intensifying concerns over factory farming practices that pose a risk of spreading disease from animals to humans.

The NO SHT Act specifically targets the alarming practice of feeding chicken litter—which includes dead birds, feathers, and chicken excrement—to cows in large-scale feedlots and dairies. This surprisingly routine factory-farming practice, which has been banned in other developed countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom, has raised public health alarms due to the risk of spreading disease from chickens to cows.

The NO SHT Act would prohibit the intentional adding of excrement to animal feed. Specifically, the NO SHT Act would prohibit the manufacture or introduction into interstate commerce of animal feed containing excrement. This is an important step toward a rational public policy that protects the health and welfare of both animals and humans.

“We must put an end to unsanitary factory farming practices that prioritize profits over public health, including the feeding of poultry litter to cattle,” said Senator Booker. “Feeding animal waste to livestock is irresponsible and cruel. A healthy food system cannot contain these types of practices that pose a danger to human and animal health.”

“In the US, the feeding of poultry litter to beef cows is a known factor in the cause of botulism in cattle, and is a risk in the case of H5N1,” said Dr. Steve Van Winden, Associate Professor in Population Medicine at the Royal Veterinary College.

“The flu can be spread by fecal-oral routes, and so it’s not an impossible scenario that chickens who are infected with H5N1 can shed live virus through feces, which the cattle then consume. It is a potential mechanism of transmission, although there are other possible explanations for the current outbreak in dairy herds,” said Dr. Brian Ferguson, Associate Professor of Immunology at the University of Cambridge.

“Feeding excrement to cattle has to stop. It’s a shame the U.S. has to pass laws to forbid what we already know to be wrong and a potential risk to cattle and humans, but apparently we do. We’re thankful Senator Booker is taking the lead to put an end to it,” said Bill Bullard, CEO of RCALF.

“The practice of intentionally feeding cattle —even a little— ‘chicken litter’ is awful in the best of times. Given the current outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, and it’s well documented ability to cross species to bovines and humans alike, it is an even more egregious and ill-advised practice,” said Michael Kovach, President of Pennsylvania Farmers Union. Senator Booker’s thoughtful legislation prohibiting intentionally adding excrement to animal feed is a positive step toward reprioritizing our food system toward healthy, nutritious food for Americans — over profitability for the “big four” meat packers who currently dominate the American beef market.”

Full list of endorsing groups, here.

To read the full text of the bill, click here.

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