Today, The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced a proposed step towards a more humane way of slaughtering calves. The regulation aims to improve humane handling of cows and food safety inspection at animal farms producing veal. Though the proposed regulation seems effective from outside, it's extremely complicated to implement and inspect.

The regulation

According to the proposal, veal calves unable to walk or rise from recumbent position should be humanely euthanized. It also prevents such Animals from entering the supply facility under any circumstances.

At present, FSIS dictates to set aside the calves unable to rise till they regain the ability to walk and then may be routed to supply the facility to be slaughtered. The new regulation intends to prevent brutal treatments of such calves, often observed being pulled up by tails and ears and getting kicked. The FSIS also claims that it would improve efficiency of routine inspection programs by providing more time for inspection personnel.

A reality check

Though the provision seems promising, the actual groundwork to make it happen is extremely difficult. Many rules in USDA's HMSA (Humane Methods of Slaughter Act) are self contradictory and do not serve for Animal Rights in many ways.

Some of the reasons to doubt the effectiveness of the regulation are:

Lack of personnel - According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) itself, there are only 148 full time humane slaughter inspectors for the 148 million animals (chickens and fish excluded) slaughtered every year at federally inspected establishments.

Slaughters are done out of the sigh - There is no provision of the mandatory presence of Humane Slaughter Inspector at abattoirs in real time. To fill this gap, animal rights activists have been demanding installation of CCTV cameras at all facilities; but it is something that USDA never bothered about. Under such unexpected environment, it would be foolish to expect any form of 'humane' practices by slaughterhouses.

This is palpably impossible when a worker is expected to kill 200 animals per hour.

Frivolous penalties - HMSA has been already an unenforceable act, chiefly because there are no penalties for violating many of the clauses. And fines for some violations are as small as one minute's profit of these abattoirs

Take Action

Let FSIS know your support to the regulation and also request a complete ban on veal production. The proposed rule can be accessed at the website FSIS will let people post a comment for 60 days from the date of publication. Public comments play a crucial role in the final formation of the rule; your comments may be posted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at or mailed to: Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163A, Washington, DC 20250-3700.