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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The American Meat Institute has launched a new Website intended as an information resource for the meat industry, the public, and the news media about animal handling practices in processing plants.
Included on the new site, www.animalhandling.org, is the AMI Foundation (AMIF) Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines and Audit Guide, 2005 edition, written by one of the world's leading animal welfare experts, Dr. Temple Grandin of Colorado State University. The guide can be downloaded for free, and includes AMI Foundation audit forms for cattle and calves, pigs and sheep.
The AMIF was among the first animal agriculture organizations to develop handling guidelines, originally released in 1991; and a self-audit program, originally released in 1997. The guidelines are used in the Certified Humane Raised and Handled Certification Program, and are recommended by the American Humane Association. The guidelines and audit program have since been merged into a single, easy-to-use guide, complete with official audit forms.
The new Website also includes sections on animal welfare auditing, training materials on animal handling, a section on animal welfare versus animal rights, an explanation of federal requirements for animal welfare in meat plants, and a series of photos that illustrate animal handling in meat plants.
Also on the site are new "helmet stickers" that can be used by plants to recognize animal handlers who are trained and qualified. The stickers cost $25 per 100, including shipping and handling.
"The American Meat Institute Foundation has been a leader in developing animal handling standards and in offering top-notch training opportunities, like our Animal Care and Handling Conference, held last week in Kansas City," said AMI president J. Patrick Boyle. "Animal welfare is a non-competitive issue in the meat industry and we are pleased to offer all of our resources on a single, easy-to-navigate Web site. We also hope that this Website will be an important resource for reporters and the public."