AMI Video Tackles the Issue of Fear
April 25, 2014

The American Meat Institute (AMI) added a video to its Meat Mythcrusher series, this one addressing "one of the most common myths about the meat industry: that animals are aware and afraid of being slaughtered," the association said. The video features Temple Grandin, Ph.D., explaining her research into animal behavior prior to slaughter, comparing animal reactions to entering a slaughterhouse versus a veterinary chute. She found that they react the same.

When animals are afraid, they will back up or refuse to move forward. The most likely causes of agitation in processing facilities are distractions such as lighting problems, air blowing towards the animals, movement or high pitched noise. A lone animal by itself in a chute may also become agitated because he is separated from his herd mates. That's why it is important to handle animals in groups.

Humane handling of livestock has many important benefits. First, it is our ethical obligation to handle animals humanely. Also, mishandling animals can lead to meat quality issues. Plants with optimal animal handling produce higher quality meat.

Good animal handling also enhances safety for workers. Animals that become agitated due to rough handling can injure workers - and themselves. Calm animals also are less likely to damage equipment.

For these reasons, plants do everything possible to create calm, low-stress atmospheres that work with - rather than against - animals' natural instincts. The benefits of these practices to workers, to meat quality, to equipment and most importantly to livestock are well-documented by scientific research.

To view the video, to go