To help encourage responsible slaughter practices, please:

 Call or write the White House&/or write the USDA

at: USDA, FSIS, OPPD, RIMD, Docket Clearance Unit, Patriots Plaza III, Rm 8-163, Mailstop 3782, 355 E St., S.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20250
(Note: All submissions must include the agency name and docket number FSIS-2011-0012.)

 In poultry slaughterhouses, the USDA is considering allowing production lines to be sped up
while decreasing the number of assigned USDA inspectors and their amount of "on-line" monitoring.
The USDA is offering slaughter companies permission to largely just self-inspect.
Some changes being proposed are positive ones, but they are being considered along with some hazardous ones.

Some concerns:
Protections for birds undergoing slaughter are already very limited. Birds are carefully left out of the definition of "livestock" protected by the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, though they make up more than 90% of the animals slaughtered for food.
Standards for "good commercial poultry practices" are the only federal requirements that mandate some limited support for the welfare of birds in processing plants. The USDA's inspectors are the enforcers of these requirements.
If "outside" checking of plant practices decreases, logically, enforcement of humane practices will weaken when these practices require extra work or conflict with profit motives.

Birds already suffer significantly in rushed processing lines. Birds too commonly experience broken legs and wings, bruises, and being boiled alive. Preventing accidents, carelessness, callousness, or outright cruelty is difficult at such a frenetic pace.
A faster work pace would foster less care for chickens' well-being during processing.

Slaughterhouse self-inspectors would be more likely to miss spotting contamination issues, because they would be less trained plus be inspecting birds at an increased rate. They would also have more motivation to overlook problems that might cut into profits. The reduced number of USDA inspectors who would still be doing a final check would have difficulty catching missed problems because the sped-up line would be moving up to 3 birds past every second.
Many industry professionals believe that the changes would escalate food safety risks.

A high percentage of slaughterhouse employees already regularly experience pain and injuries from the intense pace. Most of these are indigent workers who have little support because they fear losing their jobs if they complain.
Forcing an even more intense work pace would increase the physical injuries plant workers endure.

Please let the White House & USDA know that you oppose
the "Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection" rule!