Target: USDA office of Food Safety and Inspection Services
Goal: Protect all species of animals killed for human consumption from having to suffer an inhumane death.
The Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act, sometimes also referred to as just the Humane Slaughter Act, is a federal United States law that was first instituted in 1958. The act attempts to insure that livestock animals being slaughtered for human consumption are killed humanly. The act states that most species of livestock animals must be rendered insensible to pain before being processed for consumption. This means that the animals should not be conscious while being shackled, cut, hoisted, or thrown. However, the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act, as it is currently written, does not extend protection to all species of animals that are commonly slaughtered in the United States. The law fails to protect poultry, fish, and rabbits.
Billions of chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other types of birds are killed for food each year in the US. Fish are a popular food source in some parts of the country, and rabbits are killed for food as well as for their fur. It’s common knowledge that animals such as chickens and rabbits are not immune to pain. By excluding these species from the Humane Slaughter Act, the USDA makes it legal for these animals to suffer a great deal prior to and during their slaughter. In the past, organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States have demanded that the USDA expand the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act to include species currently excluded. In 2005 the Humane Society sued the USDA to require poultry to be covered under the Humane Slaughter Act, but the lawsuit was dismissed by the federal court due to the fact that poultry are not defined as livestock under the act. Rabbits, for some reason, are categorized as poultry by the USDA which is why they are also not protected under the Humane Slaughter Act.
It’s unethical to allow billions of animals a year to be slaughtered inhumanly because of the USDA’s wordplay. All species of animals slaughtered in the United States should be protected from having to endure torturous deaths. By signing this petition, you are urging the USDA to expand the terms of the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act to include all species of animals slaughtered for human use. Ask them to redefine the word livestock to include the excluded species, or to develop separate humane slaughter provisions to cover the currently unprotected species.
Dear USDA, office of Food Safety and Inspection Services,
Since its creation in 1958, the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act has neglected to protect all species of animals slaughtered for human consumption. Under the act as it is currently written, animals classified as poultry or fish are not guaranteed to have their lives ended humanly and without pain. Chickens make up the majority of animals slaughtered for use as food in the United States, and yet they continue to be denied the protections that are extended to mammals.
It is well known that, just as humans and other mammals do, birds and rabbits feel pain. New research indicates that fish, believed by many to not feel pain as humans understand it, do actually experience the sensation of pain. Many of the unethical slaughter practices used on these animals not only causes them extreme pain, but also a great deal of stress. Surely it is not too much to ask that all animals who are forced to give up their lives for the benefit of mankind are in the very least treated humanly before and during their slaughter. Animals such as fish, chickens, and rabbits deserve the same respect that is extended to animals such as cows, pigs, and horses.
Please revise the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act to include all species of animals slaughtered for human consumption. Broaden the act’s definition of livestock so that no animal needs to suffer an inhumane death, or consider drafting new humane slaughter policies that cover the species of animals left out of the Humane Slaughter Act. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi ‘The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.’
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