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Humane Handling

MDAC and the Meat Inspection Division takes the responsibility of enforcing state law (75-35-7) and federal regulation (9 CFR 313) very seriously regarding the handling and housing of animals entering the food supply chain. All inspectors and veterinarians employed by our division receive specific training to become knowledgeable of these critical regulations.

Humane Handling verification procedures are performed daily at all slaughter facilities by inspectors and veterinarians. Examples of these tasks include:

  • Livestock pens, driveways, and ramps shall be maintained to prevent any injury or pain to the animals.
  • Flooring of pens and ramps shall provide adequate footing to prevent slipping and falling.
  • Movement of animals from the unloading area to pens shall be conducted with a minimum of discomfort and excitement.
  • Prods and other driving implements are used appropriately and cause as little excitement as possible.
  • Holding pens should provide adequate protection to animals should inclement weather arise.
  • Water is freely accessible to animals and feed when appropriate.
  • Method of rendering the animals unconscious prior to slaughter is properly applied and effective.
  • Any disable animals are handled humanely by establishment employees.

Meat Inspection Division Inspectors document and report any and all occurrences of inhumane treatment of animals. They have the authority to immediately stop all slaughter activities if such cases were to arise. Our inspectors evaluate the plant management’s corrective actions and measures to prevent these situations from occurring.

A veterinarian employed by our division trained in humane handling also conducts official visits to all slaughter facilities under inspection of the MDAC. This review is part of a comprehensive evaluation of the facility’s humane handling practices.

Links to further information:
https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulatory-compliance/humane-handling