New Swine Inspection System Sparks Controversy

The US Department of Agriculture has declined to grant AWI’s petition asking the department to end the cruel practice of slaughtering nonambulatory disabled pigs. The USDA decided that its current regulations are “sufficient and effective” in ensuring that these pigs are handled humanely at slaughter. What’s worse, the petition was denied even as the department is finalizing a controversial new rule, the New Swine Inspection System (NSIS). The USDA is claiming the NSIS will modernize standards for pig slaughter and meat inspection. The “modernized” standards, however, allow pig slaughter plants to operate at unlimited line speeds, with the vast potential to increase incidents of inhumane handling of pigs, especially those who become disabled at the plant or during transport. The rule is also concerning to workers, who assert that the increased line speeds put their safety at risk. In response to the rule’s publication, a coalition of worker groups sued, claiming that the USDA violated the Administrative Procedure Act.

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