Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

FSIS Issues Guidance for a Systematic Approach to Humane Livestock Handling

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) issued compliance guidelines for a systematic approach to humane handling of livestock on Wednesday.

A systematic approach is a comprehensive method of evaluating how livestock enter and move through an establishment and focuses on treating livestock so as to minimize excitement, discomfort, and accidental injury.

While it’s not a regulatory requirement, FSIS believes that it is the best way to comply with Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, the Federal Meat Inspection Act, and federal regulations on humane handling of livestock.

This new guidance was developed to address  humane handling incidents noted in a May 2013 report by the USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG). The audit found that FSIS enforcement policies don’t keep pig slaughter plants from repeatedly violating the Federal Meat Inspection Act. In addition, the report cited 10 instances of “egregious violations” of  humane handling regulations where inspectors did not issue suspensions.

“We have taken significant measures over the last few years to strengthen our ability to enforce humane handling laws at livestock slaughter facilities nationwide,” said FSIS Administrator Al Almanza in a statement Wednesday. “The guidance is one example of our commitment to the humane treatment of animals. We continue to implement improvements so that we have the best system possible.”

FSIS reports that, as of this year, half of slaughter facilities have adopted a systematic approach to humane handling, a goal laid out in the agency’s 2011-2016 strategic plan.

© Food Safety News
  • Elizheva

    All slaughter facilities should have already adopted humane handling of animals.

    • Essa Adams

      Truly. Before they open. And an inspector often able to walk in without notice at any time of the week as often as they deem necessary. With a high fine and closing the facility until the issue is cleared. The livestock would be moved to the next plant at the expense of the first facility. We can bet there would not be an issue so the plan B would not need to be implemented. This getting it done by 2016, giving them five years after the facilities have been there for how many decades. Exactly how we can expect the USA to perform. If there are not enough to handle the jobs, well, hell, jobs are needed so make them.