Inspectors and veterinarians assigned to the slaughter establishments under our inspection perform humane handling verification procedures daily. Examples include making sure:
- Truck unloading facilities and handling of animals during unloading is accomplished with a minimum of excitement and discomfort.
- Slaughter establishments provide holding pens that protect animals should inclement weather arise.
- Holding pens do not present any physical hazards to animals.
- Flooring of those pens prevents slipping and falling.
- Water is accessible to animals.
- Food is provided for animals held more than 24 hours.
- Techniques used to move animals prevent excitement.
- Prods and other driving implements are used appropriately.
- Method of rendering the animals unconscious prior to slaughter is properly applied and effective.
- Establishment employees handle any disabled animals humanely.
Our Inspectors document and report all instances of inhumane treatment of animals. They have the authority to stop immediately slaughter activities whenever such instances occur. Inspectors also evaluate establishment management's corrective actions and preventive measures to correct those situations.
a Veterinary Specialist in Humane Handling conducts official visits to every slaughter
facility under inspection by NCDA&CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division.
thorough review serves as a comprehensive evaluation of the facility's humane handling practices.
In December 2007, NCDA&CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division published the booklet, "Compliance with Humane Handling Laws and Regulations" in an effort to educate industry and to promote a proactive approach to humane handling.
FSIS Compliance Guide for a Systematic Approach to the Humane Handling of Livestock
Compliance with Humane Handling Laws and Regulations: Guidance Document
Humane Handling Booklet
Humane Handling Web Links:
Livestock Behavior, Design of Facilities and Humane Slaughter
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service's Website (type "humane handling" into search box)
Humane Handling Information in Spanish:
Spanish Translations of Selected Articles