pigs

Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act (Federal)

Federal Legislation

Suspends the USDA’s authority to issue new waivers related to line speeds in slaughterhouses and suspend current waivers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Updated

September 8, 2020

Work Type

Legislation

Status

Active

The number of animals that can be killed every hour at slaughterhouses has historically been regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. When slaughterhouses are allowed to kill at high line speeds (up to 175 birds a minute and at unlimited speeds for pigs) farmed animals are vulnerable to increased suffering because the increased speed compounds the risk of animals not being unconscious when they are killed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the animal agriculture industry’s failure to adapt to changing circumstances and thousands of slaughterhouse workers continue to contract the virus. These factors make it even more critical that line speeds be closely regulated to protect animals, workers, and public health.

For years, industrial animal agricultural interests have lobbied the federal government to increase line speeds and minimize oversight. The Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act (H.R. 7521/S.4338) would suspend the USDA authority to issue new waivers related to line speeds and suspend current waivers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. It would also halt the implementation of the “New Swine Slaughter Inspection System” which allows pig slaughterhouses across the country to police themselves and exposes pigs to horrific abuse.

The Safe Line Speeds in COVID-19 Act is sponsored by Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and The Animal Legal Defense Fund is working to end high speed slaughter both legislatively and through litigation.

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