USDA to focus inspection on vulnerable pigs
USDA announced it will implement a series of interim
actions to verify and analyse humane handling activities in all federally
inspected establishments, and said it will focus inspection efforts on plants
that handle animals most prone to stress such as pigs.
The agency will focus surveillance and inspection activities at
establishments where older or potentially distressed animals are
Other new actions to be implemented include the following:
- 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
- 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) programme.
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
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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