This page provides information and resources related to the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act of 1978 [7 USC 1901–1906], which states that the handling and slaughtering of livestock are to be carried out only by humane methods.
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) (XML) | More
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.
Docket No. FSIS-2014-0020 (Jul 18, 2016)
Requirements for the Disposition of Non-Ambulatory Disabled Veal Calves
FSIS Directive 6900.2 - Humane Handling and Slaughter of Livestock
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.
Docket No. FSIS-2013-0003 (Oct 29, 2013)
Availability of FSIS Compliance Guide for a Systematic Approach to the Humane Handling of Livestock
- FSIS Compliance Guide for a Systematic Approach to the Humane Handling of Livestock (Oct 23, 2013)
FSIS developed this guide to promote a systematic approach to achieve compliance with the 9 CFR Part 313 regulatory requirements for humane handling and slaughter of livestock.
- See Also: Compliance Guidelines for Use of Video or Other Electronic Monitoring or Recording Equipment in Federally Inspected Establishments (Aug 26, 2011)
This guideline was written to provide information to industry on the use of video or other electronic monitoring or recording equipment to help it maintain compliance with federal regulations, including humane treatment of livestock and the use of good commercial practices in poultry.
Docket No. FSIS-2008-0022 (Mar 18, 2009)
Requirements for the Disposition of Cattle that Become Non-Ambulatory Disabled Following Ante-Mortem Inspection
- Audit Report - Food Safety and Inspection Service Oversight of the Recall by Hallmark/Westland Meat Packaging Company (Sep 2009)
Docket No. 04-013N (Sep 9, 2004)
Humane Handling and Slaughter Requirements and the Merits of a Systematic Approach To Meet Such Requirements
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
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.
PHV Refresher Training: Consciousness and Stunning (PDF Only)
PHVs must be confident they can determine whether or not an animal is conscious.
Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines & Audit Guide: A Systematic Approach to Animal Welfare
Guide produced by the American Meat Institute based on research by Dr. Temple Grandin.
Humane Handling of Livestock and Poultry Booklet
An educational guidebook based on FSIS policies.
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.