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.