A USDA veterinarian's congressional testimony ignited new debate about animal welfare standards in slaughter plants.

Dean Wyatt, an FSIS supervisory public health veterinarian, told the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in early March, "I truly believe that the USDA inspector is the only advocate animals have in slaughter plants. When we turn our backs on the helpless, when we fail to speak on behalf of the voiceless, when we tolerate animal abuse and suffering, then the moral compass of a just and compassionate society is gone."

Protected under federal whistle-blower laws, Wyatt's testimony recounted numerous instances when upper-level FSIS management simply looked the other way when food safety and humane handling laws where broken.

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