USDA to focus on poultry handling
The USDA will implement a series of interim actions to
verify and analyse humane handling activities in all federally inspected
establishments, and will focus efforts on plants that handle animals most prone
The agency will focus surveillance and inspection activities at
establishments where older or potentially distressed animals are
Other new actions to be implemented include:
- Increasing the amount of time allocated per shift by inspection programme
personnel to verify humane handling activities and to verify humane handling in
the ante-mortem areas
- Observing animal handling activities outside the approved hours of
operation from vantage points within and adjacent to the official premises
- Issuing instructions to FSIS inspectors to reinforce the work methods for
conducting humane handling verification activities at all levels and to ensure
the greatest use of the Humane Activities Tracking System (HATS)
Inspection activities will be prioritised based on the category of
livestock handled at the facility, humane handling data, observations made at
the facility during regular inspection and a plant's operating schedule.
Humane Activities Tracking System (HATS)
In addition, the HATS programme, implemented in 2004, will be reviewed.
HATS provides FSIS with an accounting of the time spent by inspectors performing
specific tasks and the results of that inspection related to humane handling and
slaughter under the requirements of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.
There are nine specific HATS humane handling categories:
measures for inclement weather
- Truck unloading
- Water availability (and
feed, if applicable)
- Handling during ante-mortem inspection
of suspect and disabled livestock
- Electric prod/alternative object use
Observations of slips and falls
- Stunning effectiveness
- Checking for
conscious animals on the rail prior to processing.
Upon completion of this current investigation, the USDA will determine
whether or not it needs to make any inspection policy changes.
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