USDA’s FSIS tells inspectors to get tough on livestock mishandling

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WASHINGTON — The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a directive Aug. 15 with new instructions to its inspectors to ensure the humane treatment and slaughter of livestock presented for processing at FSIS-inspected facilities. (link opens .pdf)

FSIS will train its personnel to ensure they are prepared to carry out these new instructions.

This directive provides new instructions for inspection program personnel to ensure that treatment of livestock during handling and slaughter minimizes the animal’s amount of excitement, pain, injury or discomfort.

‘Egregious’ handling

Notably, this directive includes a definition for “egregious inhumane treatment”.

Under this definition, an egregious situation is 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.

In the past year, FSIS also created 24 new humane handling enforcement positions, including 23 in-plant personnel and a headquarters-based Humane Handling Enforcement Coordinator.

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