The federal Humane Slaughter Act of 1958, which was reauthorized in 1978, set forth new requirements for the handling and harvesting of animals in meat plants. These requirements are enforced continuously by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors, who are present in packing plants during every minute of operation. Federal inspection may be withdrawn from plants that violate the Act, which closes the plant.
Over the last few years, USDA has increased its oversight of humane slaughter rules by deploying District Veterinary Medical Specialists (DVMSs) throughout the federal inspection service. The DVMSs conduct special reviews of plants and provide feedback about ways to improve animal handling.
For more information on humane slaughter regulations and federal enforcement, click here.