Guidance for Written Humane Handling Plans Commercial Poultry Slaughter

All commercial poultry slaughter establishments that are licensed in the state of Vermont are required to meet the requirements of the 6 V.S.A Chapter 201 and 204, the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), and all implementing regulations. 

Upon application for your Vermont License as a commercial slaughter facility, you are required to submit a written humane livestock handling plan for review and approval by the Vermont Secretary of Agriculture.

Although there are no specific state or federal humane handling and slaughter statutes for poultry, under the PPIA and Agency regulations, live poultry should be treated humanely and in a manner consistent with Good Commercial Practices. The written humane handling plan should describe what you do in your establishment to assure that poultry is treated in such a manner that minimizes excitement, discomfort and accidental injury the entire time that live poultry is held in connection with slaughter. Below are materials to help you to comply with the new requirements: 

  • The Humane Handling of Livestock and Poultry Guidebook - presents an easy to understand review of regulatory requirements for humane handling.  It also presents a systematic approach to evaluating humane handling in your establishment.
  • The National Chicken Council Welfare Guidelines and Audit Checklist - An example of guidelines and audit form that constitute good commercial practices for poultry welfare.
  • Guidance on the Writing of a Humane Handling Plan for Poultry - This document was created to help you think about what you actually do in your establishment to comply with humane handling requirements.  As you go through and answer the questions in detail, this should aid in the creation of your written plan.  At a minimum, your plan should address the regulatory requirements highlighted in yellow. If you would like a copy of this document in electronic form, please request it from the meat inspection office.

Once submitted, your plans will be reviewed and evaluated by the VT Secretary of Agriculture or designee.  We ask that you submit your plan as soon as possible.  Receipt of your commercial slaughter license is contingent on approval of your written plan.

Please submit your written humane livestock handling plan to:

            Secretary of Agriculture
            VT Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
            116 State St.
            Montpelier, VT  05620

Or by Fax to: Attn. Meat Inspection (802)828-5983
Or by email to: AGR.MeatInspection@state.vt.us

As stated in 6V.S.A. 3306 (a) No person may engage in intrastate commerce in the business of buying, selling, preparing, processing, packing, storing, transporting, or otherwise handling meat, meat food products, or poultry products, unless that person holds a valid license issued under this chapter.

If you are an establishment that has a federal grant of inspection from the USDA FSIS as a commercial slaughter facility, please be aware that there is a requirement to submit any documentation received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) related to violations of the Federal Humane Slaughter Act and rules adopted thereunder, to the VT Secretary of Agriculture or designee within five days of receipt of such violation.