U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service has announced an intended policy change that would make livestock haulers responsible for instances of animal abuse in connection with slaughter on the premises of an official establishment.
Policy Change Would Allow Civil Or Criminal Action To Be Taken Against Livestock Haulers
The proposed policy change would allow civil or criminal penalties to be brought up against livestock haulers who handle animals in an inhumane manner when transporting them to slaughterhouses. Current law hold owners of farms and slaughterhouses solely responsible for instances of animal abuse in connection with slaughter.
The FSIS believes that the policy change will improve the welfare of the livestock by making sure that proper procedures for handling the animals are followed: “Many of these individuals are not employed by the establishment and thus are not required to follow instructions from the establishment on the handling of livestock in connection with slaughter.”
Speeding Livestock Haulers Could Face Animal Abuse Charges
Under the proposed policy change, speeding while hauling animals bound for slaughter could be considered inhumane treatment: “if . . . personnel observe a non-employee driving animals too fast and causing a few to slip and fall, and establishment employees are not involved in the event, FSIS will initiate action against the non-employee and will not take an administrative enforcement action against the establishment.”
The policy change comes after a 2015 petition from a hog slaughter establishment stating that official slaughter establishments should not be held accountable for animal mistreatment by non-employees.
The notice will be published in the Federal Register in next few days and the policy will be implemented 90 days after publication unless public comment calls for a revision of the policy.
You can read a copy of the policy change notice here.