The livestock industry’s top expert on animal behavior is teaming up with the North American Meat Association to put more eyes on high-risk animals and their handlers.
Temple Grandin, the world renowned animal science professor at Colorado State University, is partnering with NAMA, the organization formed by the July 1 merger of the National Meat Association (NMA) and the North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP), to develop remote video auditing systems that may be used as a management tool by animal agriculture.
Incidents of possible animal cruelty and the mishandling of downed or injured animals on the way to slaughter has been a recurring problem for the animal industry, usually brought to light by undercover videos taken by animals rights groups who get volunteers to get low-level jobs in the plant.
Until now, the industry only reaction has been to ask states to make to make undercover videos illegal.
Now, Grandin and NAMA are planning to fight undercover videos with remote video auditing to keep tabs on animal handlers and use the recordings to coach them in humane handling practices. In a statement, NAMA said the new approach to monitoring animal handling will result in humane treatment.
Hanford, CA-based Central Valley Meat Co. Inc., a favored beef supplier to USDA, Costco, In-N-Out Burger and other blue chip clients, was closed for one week beginning Aug. 19 for inhumane handling recorded by Compassion Over Killing, an animal rights group.
Grandin says the industry needs to use technology and third party auditors to drive advancements in animal welfare.
Central Valley Meat Co. does use remote monitoring, but some outside pens and some areas under major construction were not covered at the time the animal rights group was taking video footage.
Photo courtesy of Colorado State University© Food Safety News