Meat Inspectors Get Clout to Stop Inhumane Slaughter
BY DAN FLYNN | AUG 16, 2011
Meat inspectors at federally regulated plants that slaughter animals got new instructions for humane treatment of animals.
Announced Monday by USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the instructions come in the form of a new 40-page directive. The rules go into effect on Sept. 15.
The directive on enforcement of humane handling codifies changes made in the last few years to ensure that animals going to slaughter are treated properly. It replaces FSIS policies published in 1998 and 2003.
The new version, which FSIS says is going to require additional training for meat inspectors, includes a definition for "egregious inhumane handling" of animals -- "any act or condition that results in severe harm to animals, which includes the excessive beating or prodding of disabled livestock, stunning animals and allowing them to regain consciousness, or any treatment causing unnecessary pain and suffering."
The directive also provides inspectors with "verification instructions" to ensure that treatment of livestock during handling and slaughter "minimizes the animals' amount of excitement, pain, injury or discomfort."
The goal of everyone in agriculture is to continue improving on our methods. These guidelines are updated on a fairly regular basis because we keep finding better ways to handle issues that arise. It’s vital that we learn from problems that have happened in the past and I think this proves that we do. No one wants to see instances of livestock being mistreated.