Are Animals Slaughtered Humanely?

Slaughter methods in food production can be uneasy to watch, to read about or even think about. However, farmers and ranchers must follow The Humane Slaughter Act, which became law in 1958. The act requires that animals are completely sedated and insensible to pain before slaughter. The methods of sedation may differ depending on the size of the animal. To ensure farmers and ranchers are complying with The Humane Slaughter Act, veterinarians are assigned to routinely monitor specific districts for slaughter and handling procedures. Components of the Farm Bill, signed into law in 2002, also requires that a compliance report is submitted by farmers and ranchers annually.

In addition, the agriculture community is making important strides with new methods – like progressive slaughter plants – to ensure slaughter is painless. Many farmers and ranchers work with Temple Grandin, animal welfare advocate and professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, who designs livestock handling facilities that use devices to hold animals in comfortable, upright positions.

Learn more information on Grandin, her research and recommended practices here.