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USDA announces new directive aimed at improving humane handling enforcement

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Oct 01, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) developed new tools and guidelines that it hopes will ensure humane treatment and slaughter of livestock.

Final guidelines for meat and poultry operations that want to use in-plant video monitoring were released by FSIS on Aug. 26.

"Compliance Guidelines for Use of Video or Other Electronic Monitoring or Recording Equipment in Federally Inspected Establishments" confirms that video or other electronic monitoring or recording equipment may be used in federally inspected establishments where meat and poultry are processed. The guidelines highlight the FSIS' expectations when video monitoring or recording equipment is used.

You can found the complete guiode at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Significant_Guidance/index.asp.

In addition to the surveillance guide, FSIS issued a directive Aug. 15 with new instructions for its own inspectors in regard to treatment of livestock during the slaughter process.

The directive seeks to "minimize the animal's amount of excitement, pain, injury or discomfort" and defines "egregious inhumane treatment" as "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 new director and surveillance guide is the latest effort to improve humane treatment of livestock, according to the agency. FSIS says it has been working to strengthen humane handling enforcement over the last two years.