ASI: proposal would hold livestock haulers accountable for animal abuse
October 14, 2016
A proposal by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service would hold transporters responsible for the mistreatment of livestock.
An advanced copy of the notice was posted on the FSIS website on Friday, Oct. 7, and is expected to be published in the Federal Register in the coming days. The advanced copy could be subject to minor changes.
"The Food Safety and Inspection Service is announcing its intent to hold livestock owners, transporters, haulers and other persons not employed by an official establishment responsible if they commit acts involving inhumane handling of livestock in connection with slaughter when on the premises of an official establishment," the notice states. "FSIS believes these actions will further improve the welfare of livestock handled in connection with slaughter by ensuring that all persons that inhumanely handle livestock in connection with slaughter are held accountable."
Currently, the operators of farms and slaughterhouses are the ones held accountable for mistreatment of livestock on their property.
"Livestock transporters or haulers transport animals to slaughter establishments," the notice states. "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."
In January 2015, FSIS received a petition from the attorney of a swine slaughter establishment requesting that the agency review its humane handling enforcement policy. The petition stated that official establishments should not be held accountable when non-employees inhumanely handle livestock on the official establishment premises.
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According to the notice, FSIS will initiate action solely against the non-employee if it is determined that the non-employee is solely responsible.
"For example, if Office of Field Operations 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 notice states.
If employees and non-employees are involved in abuse, FSIS would take action against the non-employee and take a regulatory control action or administration enforcement action against the establishment.
FSIS will request comments on this notice. The agency plans to begin implementing the policy 90 days after its publication in the Federal Register, unless it receives comments that demonstrate a need to revise the policy.
–American Sheep Industry