Commend the USDA for Posting Humane Slaughter Records Online

Target: USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service

Goal: Commend the USDA for posting records of plants that are in violation of federal regulations governing humane handling and slaughter of animals.

After a year and a half since the Animal Welfare Institute sent its first petition to the USDA requesting humane slaughter records be made available to the public, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service responded last month by posting the records online. This action represents a great step toward greater efficiency and transparency in the slaughter industry.

The records that are posted are letters sent to slaughter plants found to be in violation of federal regulations regarding humane handling and slaughter of animals. Many of the records posted are notifications of plant suspension for egregiously inhumane treatment of animals. In one instance, an animal was shot ten times before being properly stunned. Another instance involved a plant worker observed repeatedly using an electric prod on a downed cow that was unable to stand.

The Animal Welfare Institute first petitioned that the records be made available in August 2010, then repeated the request in February 2011 in an appeal of the agency’s delay in providing the records under the Freedom of Information Act. Making records accessible to the public serves important purposes, including educating consumers so they can make informed choices, as well as encouraging slaughter establishments to comply with federal regulations.

As we have grown increasingly distant from the sources of our meat, it is ever more important that there is transparency in the slaughter industry. Commend the USDA for releasing humane slaughter records for public viewing.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Employees of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service,

Although you were slow to act on the Animal Welfare Institute’s petition to release humane slaughter records, you deserve ample recognition for finally doing so. Your actions represent great steps toward greater efficiency and transparency in the slaughter industry.

Making records available to the public serves important purposes, including educating consumers so they can make informed choices, as well as encouraging slaughter establishments to comply with federal regulations.

As we have grown increasingly distant from the sources of our meat, it is ever more important that there is transparency in the slaughter industry. Thank you for making this goal a reality.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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