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High Court Overturns Calif. Slaughterhouse Law

The Supreme Court has blocked a California law that would require euthanizing downed livestock at federally inspected slaughterhouses to keep the meat out of the nation's food system.

The high court on Monday agreed that the state's 2009 state law should be blocked from going into effect.

California barred the purchase, sale and butchering of animals that can't walk and required slaughterhouses to immediately kill non-ambulatory animals. But justices said unanimously that the law encroached on federal laws that don't require immediate euthanizing.

California strengthened regulations against slaughtering so-called "downer" animals after the 2008 release of an undercover Humane Society video showing workers abusing cows at a Southern California slaughterhouse. Under California law, the ban on buying, selling and slaughter of "downer" cattle also extends to pigs, sheep and goats.

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