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Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter


 
Statutes and Regulations

Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act (7 USC, 1901 - 1907)
These statutory sections comprise what is commonly termed the Humane Slaughter Act. Included in these sections are Congress' statement that livestock must be slaughtered in a humane manner to prevent needless suffering, research methods on humane methods of slaughter, the nonapplicability of these statutes to religious or ritual slaughter, and the investigation into the care of nonambulatory livestock.

Humane Slaughter of Livestock Regulations (9 CFR 313) | PDF
The CFR is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

FSIS Directives and Notices

FSIS Notice 72-13 - Issuance of a New Humane Handling Compliance Guideline

FSIS Directive 6900.2 - Humane Handling and Slaughter of Livestock (PDF Only)
This directive informs inspection program personnel of the requirements, verification activities, and enforcement actions for ensuring that the handling and slaughter of livestock, including the slaughter of livestock by religious ritual methods, is humane.

Disposition of Non-Ambulatory Disabled Cattle (PDF Only)
FSIS Notice issued to inspection program personnel clarifying that all non-ambulatory mature cattle must be condemned and promptly euthanized.

Docket No. FSIS-2008-0022 (Mar 18, 2009; PDF Only)
Requirements for the Disposition of Cattle that Become Non-Ambulatory Disabled Following Ante-Mortem Inspection

Docket No. 04-013N | PDF (Sep 9, 2004)
Humane Handling and Slaughter Requirements and the Merits of a Systematic Approach To Meet Such Requirements
 


Enforcement Reports

Humane Handling Quarterly Reports
FSIS quarterly report summarizing humane handling-related activities in livestock slaughter establishments including:
  • Livestock slaughter information in head slaughtered
  • Hours of in-plant humane handling verification activities
  • Non-compliance record information
  • Suspension of slaughter operations

Humane Handling Enforcement Actions
Listing of official enforcement actions FSIS has taken against establishments that have been found in violation of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.

Review of Appeals of Humane Handling Noncompliance Records (PDF Only)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit report finds that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) appropriately handles industry appeals of its humane handling enforcement actions.

 


Training

Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines Audit Guide: A Systematic Approach to Animal Welfare (PDF Only)
The American Meat Institute's (AMI) 2010 edition of " Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines Audit Guide: A Systematic A approach to Animal Welfare" was written by Temple Grandin, Ph.D. with the AMI Animal Welfare Committee. This edition is an updated version of Dr. Grandin's Good Management Practices (GMPs) for Animal Handling and Stunning and includes additional official AMIF audits for pig, cattle and sheep slaughter. (you will be leaving this site)

Humane Handling of Livestock and Poultry Booklet (PDF Only)
An educational guidebook based on FSIS policies.

Humane Slaughter - Livestock Slaughter Inspection Training (PDF)
This chapter in the Livestock Slaughter Inspection Training Manual provides information for new FSIS Food Inspectors regarding humane slaughter of livestock.

Humane Interactive Knowledge Exchange (HIKE)
Through the use of fictional scenarios, HIKE allows an employee to review FSIS requirements, and hopefully, to correlate with his or her work-group and supervisor regarding the application of those requirements.

See Also: Regional Training: Humane Handling of Livestock

News and Additional Resources

USDA Suspends Central Valley Meat for Humane Handling Violations (Aug 21, 2012)
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to take aggressive action to investigate and respond to disturbing evidence of inhumane treatment of cattle at Central Valley Meat in Hanford, CA.

Humane Handling of Livestock Blogs
Access USDA Blogs on Humane Handling of Livestock and add your comments.

askFSIS about Humane Handling
The askFSIS knowledge base covers topics such as exporting, labeling, inspection, programs and procedures.

Humane Slaughter - Key Facts (Jan 2012)
USDA considers humane methods of handling animals and humane slaughter operations a priority, and has a Farm Animal Well Being Task Force to address sound standards for the care, handling, transporting, and slaughter of farm animals. Learn more.

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Specified Risk Material (SRM) Guidance Materials and Resources
Guidance materials and resources on Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Specified Risk Material (SRM) provides assistance to producers, agricultural businesses and inspection program personnel in maintaining compliance with mandatory food safety and inspection legislation.

FSIS Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) Resources
News, risk assessment results, and other resources related to BSE.
Last Modified Mar 10, 2014