USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service has announced several measures that will better ensure the humane treatment and slaughter of all cattle presented for processing at FSIS-inspected facilities. USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen says they are taking concrete steps to address outstanding humane handling issues, ranging from enhanced employee training to clearer guidance on existing rules.
FSIS is pursuing the following new measures:
• Issuing procedures to inspection personnel to clarify that all non-ambulatory mature cattle must be condemned and promptly euthanized to ensure they are humanely handled, regardless of the reason for the animal's non-ambulatory status.
• Responding to and soliciting comments on petitions from the Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary.
• Appointing an Ombudsman in the Office of Food Safety, designated specifically for humane handling issues.
• Requesting the USDA Office of Inspector General audit industry appeals of noncompliance records and other humane handling enforcement actions by FSIS inspection program personnel.
• Delivering enhanced humane handling training to give inspection personnel more practical, situation-based training.
The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act provides FSIS with the authority to prevent needless suffering, and, according to FSIS Administrator Al Almanza, they take their responsibility very seriously. Consumers need to be confident that inspectors have the direction they need to ensure that humane slaughter is carried out properly.