The American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation's 2010 Animal Care & Handling Guidelines and Audit Guide: A Systematic Approach to Animal Welfare, has been released.
Authored by Colorado State University Professor of Animal Science Temple Grandin, Ph.D., with the Institute’s Animal Welfare Committee, the 2010 edition includes an important new transportation audit that measures key animal welfare factors on trucks when they arrive at meat plants and as drivers and plant personnel unload livestock.
The latest edition also has been reviewed and certified by the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) and they are only the second guidelines to have received PAACO certification.
AMI’s guidelines were first developed in 1991 by Grandin. In 1997, AMI asked Grandin to create an audit program as a companion to the guidelines. Over time, the two documents were merged and today they have become a widely recognized standard for ensuring animal welfare in US meat packing plants and in many countries around the world. Many retail and restaurant customers require that their meat suppliers use the AMI audit program.
The guidelines are based upon the principle that “You manage what you measure.” By objectively scoring factors like livestock vocalization, how often livestock fall, how often electric prods are used and other factors, the industry has been able to make measurable progress in the decade since the audit program was released. Today, third party audit firms provide the AMI audit and plants score themselves on a regular basis to monitor welfare indicators.
Every two years, AMI’s Animal Welfare Committee reviews the guidelines and makes changes and enhancements to the document based upon new research and data collected. In addition to the new transportation audit in the 2010 edition, the new guidelines include a helpful grid that details how to evaluate the effectiveness of various stunning methods.
“The addition of a transportation audit will help us evaluate transportation factors as they impact livestock welfare,” Grandin said. “By using objective criteria to measure welfare in packing plants since 1999, measurable improvements have been achieved and I believe the new transportation component will help advance welfare even further.”
The 120-page document is available for download at www.animalhandling.org.
Source: Provisioner online