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Good Management Practice for Animal Handling and Stunning

By Temple Grandin

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These guidelines are a supplement to the 1991 Recommended Animal Handling Guideline for Meat Packers. The main emphasis of this guide is on the use of a welfare performance standards which can be objectively scored instead of specifying equipment design or practices. Scoring procedures for accessing animal welfare and recommendations which will help improve animal welfare are described. The recommended scoring procedures are simple enough to be conducted easily under commercial conditions and they should be conducted a minimum of once a week. Scoring should be done at both the beginning and the end of a shift to determine the effect of employee fatigue. If a score falls below the acceptable range specified in the guide, plant management should take steps to correct the problem. The results of the 1996 Survey of Stunning and Handling in Federally Inspected Beef, Pork, Veal and Sheep Slaughter Plants (sponsored by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) indicated that the recommended minimum acceptable levels specified in this guide can be achieved easily at a minimum of. expense. Objective scoring should be done in the following areas which are critical control points for good animal welfare. The minimum acceptable percentage scores in this guide were determined by the author based on over twenty years of practical experience in over 100 different slaughter plants.
1. Percentage of pigs and sheep where the electric stunner was placed in the wrong position.
2. Percentage of cattle which had to be shot more than once with the captive bolt stunner. 
3. Percentage of sensible and partially sensible animals on the bleed rail.
4. Percentage of animals falling down or slipping.
5. Percentage of cattle vocalizing in the stunning chute area, which includes the stunning box, restrainer, lead-up chute and crowd pen.
6. Percentage of pigs vocalizing in the stunning pen or restrainer conveyor.
7. Percentage of animals prodded with an electric prod.
8. Non-ambulatory animal procedures. Scoring procedures need to be developed at this critical control point.
Poor perform.ance is any one of the above critical control points would result in reduced welfare. This guideline also contains criteria for stunning equipment and recommendations which will enable a plant a plant to maintain acceptable welfare scores. Other areas of welfare concern which will be covered ·are ritual slaughter and the handling of non-ambulatory animals. 


Katie Carroll

Date 1999
Pages 26
Publisher American Meat Institute Foundation
Language English
Institution Colorado State University
  1. Animal roles
  2. Animal slaughter
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Farm animals
  5. Food animals
  6. Handling
  7. Livestock
  8. slaughterhouses
  9. stunning