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Humane Methods of Slaughter Act

Originally passed in 1958, the law that is enforced today by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) was passed as the Humane Slaughter Act of 1978. This Act requires the proper treatment and humane handling of all food animals slaughtered in USDA inspected slaughter plants. It does not apply to chickens or other birds. Contact the USDA Humane Handling Ombudsman if you have a humane handling related comment or concern or wish to file a complaint.

Congressional Research Service.

Provides an overview of Federal legislation, including proposed laws, relating to the topic of horse slaughter. (Updated August 15, 2012)

Government Printing Office.

Statutory Sections comprising the Humane Slaughter Act. Included 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.