Systematic Approach to Animal Welfare Center
USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recommends that plants develop and implement a “Systematic Approach to Animal Welfare.” Systematic Approaches that are written and reviewed by USDA in-plant inspection personnel are considered “robust.” In a plant with a robust systematic approach in place where no recent humane handling issue has occurred, USDA may opt to issue a Notice of Intended Enforcement in response to an egregious animal handling issue. This permits the plant time to implement a plan to prevent a recurrence. Plants without a robust system in place typically face a suspension in response to an egregious animal handling issue until a remedy is developed and implemented.
According USDA/FSIS Directive 6900.2, plant with Systematic Approaches should:
- Assess the ability of their livestock handling and slaughter practices to minimize distress and injury to livestock.
- Design facilities and implement handling practices that minimize distress and injury to livestock.
- Periodically evaluate facilities and handling methods to ensure that they continue to minimize distress and injury to livestock.
- When necessary, modify facilities and handling methods to ensure that they continue to minimize distress and injury to livestock.
To assist plants in developing and implementing systematic approaches, the Meat Institute provides documents and resources on this page.
FSIS Notice 04-17: Assessment and Verification Reviews of an Official Livestock Establishment’s Robust Systematic Approach Plan for Humane Handling and Slaughter
FSIS Compliance Guide for a Systematic Approach to the Humane Handling of Livestock
FSIS Directive 6900.2 - Humane Handling and Slaughter of Livestock
Presentation: Developing a Robust Systematic Approach to Humane Handling, Robert Elder, Seaboard Foods, and Ashley Lembke, American Foods Group, presented to Animal Care & Handling Conference, October 2014
Video: Proper Use of Livestock Driving Tools With Temple Grandin, Ph.D., North American Meat Institute
Video: Mobility Scoring for Cattle, North American Meat Institute