Thursday, October 13, 2011

All slaughter systems must protect against distress or discomfort

For a meat producer to earn the Certified Humane label…
All slaughter systems must be designed to ensure livestock are not caused unnecessary distress or discomfort.
We know a shattered skull and pierced brain don’t constitute unnecessary distress or discomfort to the folks at Certified Humane.  Maybe they mean stepping on the steer’s hoof or something. 
It is required that producers use processors who follow the American Meat Institute guidelines for processing cattle.
 These guidelines were developed by PETA Proggy Award-winning slaughterhouse designer and McDonald’s consultant, Temple Grandin.

Her “Interpretation of the American Meat Institute Animal Handling Guide” details what animal producers must do to pass a welfare audit. Here’s a sample from the FAQ section.  (If the question is frequently asked, safe to say it describes a frequently occurring event.)
Question 12.  A plant employee starts to skin the head of an animal that has blinking eyes.  Is the audit failed?
[Temple Grandin’s] Answer:  This is an automatic audit failure.  The guideline states, there is zero tolerance for beginning any procedure like skinning the head or leg removal on any animal that shows signs of return to sensibility … Animals with eyes that do spontaneous natural blinking are sensible.
She has zero tolerance for head-skinning and leg removal of still-sensible animals. No wonder PETA awarded her the Proggy for innovative and animal-friendly achievements.

But for those meat producers who worry Temple Grandin’s being unfairly rigid, relax, here’s another FAQ.
Question 11. A pig squeals when it is half way into the restrainer or stun box due to an electric prod.  Does this count on the vocalization score? [A high vocalization score can result in audit failure.]
Answer:  No.  The pig’s rear must be past the restrainer entrance to count.
Pig squealing in horror is only half way in the stun box.  Audit passed.  Certified Humane.