A petition filed last year with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is among the first to generate a comment in 2024.

Animal Partisan, one of the nation’s many animal activist organizations, authored the petition.

Petition 23-07, requests that FSIS issue a notice to convey that: 1) State government officials are not categorically pre-empted from enforcing state anti-cruelty laws by the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, or the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and 2) FSIS personnel should cooperate with state government officials in the enforcement of state anti-cruelty laws and improve clarity and frequency of communication to those officials.

The Animal Partisan Petition has been pending since it was filed on Sept. 2, 2023. It mainly asks FSIS to publish a notice clarifying that federal law does not necessarily prevent state government officials from bringing animal cruelty charges when farmed animals are abused in slaughter plants.

The Washington D.C.-based Animal Welfare Institute filed new comments in support of Petition 23-07 on Jan. 23, 2024.  It says the Animal Partisan petition is a  simple request and would require relatively little of the agency, yet it could significantly improve the welfare of animals at slaughter.”

The Animal Welfare Institute  claims that “all too often, while they await slaughter and during the slaughter process, these animals are severely mistreated.”

“USDA records describe live birds having their heads, legs, feathers, and wings ripped off,” it continues.  “Animals are kicked, dropped, beaten, and held for hours or days without protection from severe weather.”

“Some of these incidents may violate state animal cruelty laws; yet, the USDA does not refer these cases to state law enforcement officials, It adds. “Further, some local officials incorrectly believe that federal law prevents them from ever charging slaughter plants or personnel with animal cruelty, and the USDA has not dispelled that misguided notion.”

Petition 23-07 was assigned to the FSIS Office of Policy and Program Development for review.

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