U.S. Meat Institute revises ‘Animal Handling Guidelines and Audit Guide’

United States
Published:  27 September, 2019

The North American Meat Institute, with which the U.S. Hide, Skin and Leather Association (USHSLA) is affiliated, has released its latest science-based animal care guidelines and audit for the meat industry.

Major changes in this year’s edition include a new section on handling occasions when there is a non-ambulatory or disabled animal on a truck and in the yard; providing a new definition of “non-ambulatory animal” consistent with U.S. and Canadian regulations; justifying using 100 head as the recommended sample size; and allowing plants to determine, using outcomes-based measures, when water should be provided to animals in drive alleys, which follows the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service policy. “The meat and poultry industry is always looking for ways to improve humane animal handling for both the welfare of the animal and the safety of our workforce”, said Julie Anna Potts, President and CEO, Meat Institute.

The guidelines and audit were authored by Dr Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Behaviour from Colorado State University, who is working with the Meat Institute’s Animal Welfare Committee. “It is important to update these guidelines in order to facilitate continuous improvement of animal welfare standards in the meat industry”, said Dr Grandin. The Meat Institute’s audit was originally developed by Grandin in 1997 and its adoption by meat companies helped transform how livestock are handled and processed in meat plants. Since then data collected by Dr Grandin show that important animal handling and stunning improvements have been made over time in plants thanks to the widespread use of the guidelines and the audit.