07 October 2010

AWI urges USDA to strengthen enforcement of humane slaughter laws

Two years ago, the California-based slaughter plant Westland-Hallmark was exposed for its inhumane slaughtering of animals, which prompted greater enforcement of state laws protecting the treatment of animals at the plant. Employees of the plant were found “kicking, shocking and abusing animals too sick or injured to walk into the slaughterhouse."

Although citations for violations increased, the ways in which the laws were applied differed with each situation. A report by the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) entitled Humane Slaughter Update: Comparing State and Federal Enforcement of Humane Slaughter Laws analyzed data measuring the changed policies and law enforcements in different states since the incidence occurred. The amount of state-level implementation of said policies rose, but some states didn’t show proof at all of holding slaughter houses to the law.

AWI is petitioning the US Department of Agriculture to act, asking them to change just a few simple policies to improve the treatment of animals. Their main request is stronger penalties for each infraction, including longer suspensions and more frequent inspections.

Additionally, AWI is suggesting quicker suspensions after each violation and more education and training for employees at each plant after failed inspections. AWI would also like to see procedures in place for consistent prosecution of willful acts of inhumane animal treatment, and has asked the USDA to post reports showing enforcements on its website.

More information about the enforcements can be found on AWI’s website: www.awionline.org/humaneslaughterviolations. The report and AWI’s findings can be found at: www.awionline.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/25012.

Geanna Marek | @greenvegnliving
Geanna was born and raised in veg-friendly Portland where she currently works as a freelance writer and librarian assistant. Find Geanna at her sustainable vegan living blog greenveganliving.com.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/seangloster