This week, U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) introduced new guidance -- FSIS Compliance Guide for a Systematic Approach to the Humane Handling of Livestock -- to support the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. Proper implementation of this guidance will better ensure the humane treatment of livestock presented for slaughter, as it provides establishments a set of practices that will assist them in minimizing excitement, discomfort and accidental injury.
"We have taken significant measures over the last few years to strengthen our ability to enforce humane handling laws at livestock slaughter facilities nationwide," said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza. "The guidance is one example of our commitment to the humane treatment of animals. We continue to implement improvements so that we have the best system possible."
This new guidance was developed to address the humane handling incidents cited in the spring 2013 Office of Inspector General report. As of this year, half of all livestock-slaughter facilities have adopted the systematic approach to humane handling, meeting the agency's strategic objective three years early. The agency will continue to implement additional best practices to support the humane treatment of animals.
In addition to this guidance, the agency is further equipping employees to prevent and respond to inhumane handing incidents by delivering a more practical, situation-based humane handling training to inspectors and veterinarians who verify and enforce humane handling requirements at hundreds of livestock slaughter establishments across the country. FSIS began delivering this enhanced training in 2010, and the agency will continue to deliver this training to new employees. The training presents a variety of realistic animal-handling scenarios that employees may encounter, from truck unloading, to stunning, to post-stunning.
The guide is available at www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/da6cb63d-5818-4999-84f1-72e6dabb9501/Comp-Guide-Systematic-Approach-Humane-Handling-Livestock.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.