Humane Handling

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM)  is committed to ensuring the humane treatment and slaughter of all animals that are presented for slaughter. Vermont is currently the only state in the country that requires all federal and state commercial meat and poultry slaughter facilities to have a written plan on how they intend to comply with federal and state humane handling laws.

The Vermont Meat Inspection Program within VAAFM is responsible for ensuring that meat and poultry products produced at state-inspected establishments are safe, wholesome, and accurately labeled. The Meat Inspection Program is also responsible for ensuring industry's compliance with poultry good commercial practices and with Vermont’s  Humane Methods of Slaughter Statutes, and the Federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA), which require that livestock be handled and slaughtered in a humane way. VAAFM does not hesitate to take enforcement action against establishments that fail to meet humane handling requirements.

Vermont state-inspected livestock slaughter establishments have in-plant state personnel, consisting of a Veterinarian and Food Safety Specialists, that enforce humane methods in these plants by observing the daily handling and slaughter of all cattle, sheep, swine and goats; ensuring plants take corrective action where needed; and taking enforcement action in response to instances of inhumane treatment. VAAFM In-plant personnel take necessary regulatory action, up to and including suspension of slaughter operations, if they see any inhumane treatment of animals at livestock slaughter establishments.

Humane Handling Written Plan Guidance

All Federal and State commercial meat and poultry slaughter establishments are required to submit a written humane handling plan.

Humane Handling Training Programs

A training program for livestock and poultry slaughter facilities is available for managers to utilize in the training of their employees in the humane handling of animals. The program is written in a bilingual format, and provides the tools for plant management to deliver this training to their employees on an as-needed basis.  

Statutes and Regulations

Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act (7 USC, 1901 - 1907)
These statutory sections comprise what is commonly termed the Humane Slaughter Act. Included in these sections are Congress' statement that livestock must be slaughtered in a humane manner to prevent needless suffering, research methods on humane methods of slaughter, the nonapplicability of these statutes to religious or ritual slaughter, and the investigation into the care of nonambulatory livestock.

Humane Slaughter of Livestock Regulations (9 CFR 313)
The CFR is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

6 V.S.A Chapter 201 Humane Slaughter of Livestock
6 V. S.A Chapter 204 Preparation of Livestock and Poultry Products