May 11, 2007
May 11, 2007 - This week, the American Meat Institute (AMI) announced the release of the 2007 Animal Handling Guidelines and Audit Guide. These internationally recognized guidelines are an updated version of the 2005 guidelines and have been revised based upon feedback from the field.
Audit points in the guidelines include measurement of frequency of slips and falls by livestock, frequency of vocalizations, frequency of electric prod use, stunner accuracy, and how effectively livestock are made insensible during processing. The audit also calls for the monitoring of any willful acts of abuse (which is an immediate audit failure) and the provision of water at all times. Major changes include the addition of a new audit point for monitoring slips and falls at unloading and a new approach to vocalization scoring of pigs.
"No other sector of animal agriculture is as heavily regulated and inspected for animal welfare practices as the meat packing industry. Federal inspectors oversee our packing operations continuously and can take actions - including closing a plant - for failure to comply with federal rules," said J. Patrick Boyle, AMI President. "However, our goal has been to not just meet but to exceed federal rules. We have a documented history of doing just that and we are very proud of our proactive record."
All of AMI's materials and guidelines may be found on www.animalhandling.org
. The site is public and the guidelines are free.