Could animals be killed in unjust manner, abused under the watch of the American Humane Association?

Asked November 11, 2013, 4:59 PM EST

What are the regulations of the meat industry as far as the slaughterhouses, housing of animals, feed and treatment? How tight are the regulations handled when coming across ones who don't follow regulations?

Muskegon County Michigan

1 Response

The American humane Association offers a third party verification for farms under the American Humane Certified standard. While there is never a 100% guarantee because certifications like that do not have 100% monitoring, it is unlikely that abuse is going on in an operation that takes the time and effort needed to achieve that status. In terms of the meat industry, the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 created a government inspection program. Each animal is inspected while it is alive and throughout the slaughter process for safety and wholesomeness. In 1956, the Humane Slaughter Act was established and is still in effect. This makes sure that establishments use approved methods of animal handling, immobilization, and stunning. Slaughter operations that do not follow these guidelines can be shut down by USDA inspectors immediately if needed. They are not allowed to restart operations until conditions are fixed to the satisfaction of USDA. Animals being housed for slaughter are required to have access to water constantly prior to slaughter. Feed can be withheld for 24 hours.

The meat industry is the most highly regulated food industry. USDA inspectors must be present and approve each carcass before it is allowed to enter commerce. The only exception to this is custom exempt where an individual owns an animal and has it processed for their own and their family's use. These animals can be slaughtered at a custom exempt facility. These facilities must follow the same humane animal handling standards of inspected operations.

I hope this helps answer your questions. Please contact me if you have additional questions.

Thank you,