21 U.S. Code § 603 - Examination of animals prior to slaughter; use of humane methods
(a) Examination of animals before slaughtering; diseased animals slaughtered separately and carcasses examined
For the purpose of preventing the use in commerce of meat and meat food products which are adulterated, the Secretary shall cause to be made, by inspectors appointed for that purpose, an examination and inspection of all amenable species before they shall be allowed to enter into any slaughtering, packing, meat-canning, rendering, or similar establishment, in which they are to be slaughtered and the meat and meat food products thereof are to be used in commerce; and all amenable species found on such inspection to show symptoms of disease shall be set apart and slaughtered separately from all other cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, or other equines, and when so slaughtered the carcasses of said cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, or other equines shall be subject to a careful examination and inspection, all as provided by the rules and regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary, as provided for in this subchapter.
(b) Humane methods of slaughter
For the purpose of preventing the inhumane slaughtering of livestock, the Secretary shall cause to be made, by inspectors appointed for that purpose, an examination and inspection of the method by which amenable species are slaughtered and handled in connection with slaughter in the slaughtering establishments inspected under this chapter. The Secretary may refuse to provide inspection to a new slaughtering establishment or may cause inspection to be temporarily suspended at a slaughtering establishment if the Secretary finds that any cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, or other equines have been slaughtered or handled in connection with slaughter at such establishment by any method not in accordance with the Act of August 27, 1958 (72 Stat. 862; 7 U.S.C. 1901–1906) until the establishment furnishes assurances satisfactory to the Secretary that all slaughtering and handling in connection with slaughter of livestock shall be in accordance with such a method.
Source(Mar. 4, 1907, ch. 2907, title I, § 3, formerly 1st par., 34 Stat. 1260; renumbered § 3 and amended Pub. L. 90–201, §§ 1, 3, 12 (a), (b),Dec. 15, 1967, 81 Stat. 584, 588, 592; Pub. L. 95–445, § 2,Oct. 10, 1978, 92 Stat. 1069; Pub. L. 109–97, title VII, § 798[(a)](1), Nov. 10, 2005, 119 Stat. 2166.)
References in Text
Act of August 27, 1958, referred to in subsec. (b), is Pub. L. 85–765, Aug. 27, 1958, 72 Stat. 862, as amended, which is classified generally to chapter 48 (§ 1901 et seq.) of Title 7, Agriculture. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Tables.
Sections 1903 and 1905 of Title 7, included within reference to Act of August 27, 1958, were repealed by Pub. L. 95–445, § 5(b),Oct. 10, 1978, 92 Stat. 1069, effective as set forth in section 7 ofPub. L. 95–445, set out as an Effective Date of 1978 Amendment note below.
Section was formerly classified to section 71 of this title.
2005—Pub. L. 109–97substituted “amenable species” for “cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, and other equines” wherever appearing.
1978—Pub. L. 95–445designated existing provisions as subsec. (a) and added subsec. (b).
1967—Pub. L. 90–201, §§ 3, 12 (a), (b), struck out “interstate or foreign” before “commerce” in two places, substituted “Secretary shall” for “Secretary, at his discretion, may”, and struck out “of Agriculture” after “Secretary”, included horses, mules, and other equines, and horses, mules, or other equines in the list of animals, and substituted “adulterated” for “unsound, unhealthful, unwholesome, or otherwise unfit for human food”, respectively.
Effective Date of 2005 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 109–97effective the day after 120 days after Nov. 10, 2005, see section 798(b) ofPub. L. 109–97, set out as a note under section 601 of this title.
Effective Date of 1978 Amendment
Pub. L. 95–445, § 7,Oct. 10, 1978, 92 Stat. 1070, provided that: “The provisions of this Act [see Short Title of 1978 Amendment note set out under section 601 of this title] shall become effective one year after the date of enactment [Oct. 10, 1978]. However, such provisions shall not apply to a person, firm, or corporation for such additional period of time, not to exceed eighteen months, as may be determined by the Secretary, if the Secretary, upon application, finds that compliance with the provisions of this Act on its effective date would cause undue hardship on such person, firm, or corporation.”
Effective Date of 1967 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 90–201effective Dec. 15, 1967, except that with respect to equines (other than horses) and their carcasses and parts thereof, meat, and meat food products thereof, amendment effective upon expiration of sixty days after Dec. 15, 1967, see section 20(b) ofPub. L. 90–201, set out as an Effective Date note under section 601 of this title.
Religious Freedom; Ritual Slaughter
Pub. L. 95–445, § 6,Oct. 10, 1978, 92 Stat. 1070, provided that: “Nothing in this Act [see Short Title of 1978 Amendment note set out under section 601 of this title] shall be construed to prohibit, abridge, or in any way hinder the religious freedom of any person or group. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, in order to protect freedom of religion, ritual slaughter and the handling or other preparation of livestock for ritual slaughter are exempted from the terms of this Act. For the purposes of this section the term ‘ritual slaughter’ means slaughter in accordance with section 2(b) of the Act of August 27, 1958 (72 Stat. 862; 7 U.S.C. 1902 (b)).”