Veal calves eat straw in a dairy farm on April 18, 2013 in Vimoutiers, northwestern France.
Charly Triballeau—AFP/Getty Images
Updated: May 8, 2015 3:23 PM ET | Originally published: May 8, 2015 1:22 PM EDT

Correction appended, May 8, 2015

The USDA wants to change the rules on how calves are slaughtered for veal, saying new regulations would make the process more humane.

The proposal comes from the department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which says veal calves that are unable to stand up and walk should not be slaughtered for food. Currently, veal calves that cannot walk are set aside to rest, and if they recover, they can still be slaughtered.

Under the proposed rules, the calves that cannot walk would be euthanized instead. Regulators are concerned that the current rules allow the slaughter of calves that can’t walk because they’ve been mistreated. Changing the regulation would discourage this mistreatment of the animals.

FSIS will take comments on the proposal for 60 days, then will decide whether to change the regulation.

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly described the USDA’s position. The agency is concerned that veal calves which cannot stand are being treated poorly.

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