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Meat and Poultry Inspection Division

HUMANE HANDLING

Our Division takes very seriously our responsibility for enforcing state (NC G.S. 106-549.17) and federal (9 CFR Part 313) regulations designed to ensure all red meat animals entering the food supply are treated in compliance with these requirements. All inspectors and veterinarians employed by our division receive specialized training to become proficient in their knowledge of these important regulations.

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.

Additionally, a Veterinary Specialist in Humane Handling conducts official visits to every slaughter facility under inspection by NCDA&CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division. This
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.

Document Links:

FSIS Compliance Guide for a Systematic Approach to the Humane Handling of Livestock

Compliance with Humane Handling Laws and Regulations: Guidance Document

2010 American Meat Institute Humane Handling Guidelines

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

NCDA&CS - Meat and Poultry Inspection Division, W. Alan Wade , Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street , Raleigh, NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3180; FAX: (919) 715-0246; TA Office: (919) 707-3195