The Congress finds that the use of humane methods in the slaughter of livestock prevents needless suffering; results in safer and better working conditions for persons engaged in the slaughtering industry; brings about improvement of products and economies in slaughtering operations; and produces other benefits for producers, processors, and consumers which tend to expedite an orderly flow of livestock and livestock products in interstate and foreign commerce. It is therefore declared to be the policy of the United States that the slaughtering of livestock and the handling of livestock in connection with slaughter shall be carried out only by humane methods.
(Pub. L. 85–765, §1, Aug. 27, 1958, 72 Stat. 862.)
For citation of Pub. L. 95–445, Oct. 10, 1978, 92 Stat. 1069, as the "Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1978", see Short Title of 1978 Amendment note set out under section 601 of Title 21, Food and Drugs.
Pub. L. 107–171, title X, §10305, May 13, 2002, 116 Stat. 493, provided that:
"(1) continue tracking the number of violations of Public Law 85–765 (7 U.S.C. 1901 et seq.; commonly known as the 'Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958') and report the results and relevant trends annually to Congress; and
"(2) fully enforce Public Law 85–765 by ensuring that humane methods in the slaughter of livestock—
"(A) prevent needless suffering;
"(B) result in safer and better working conditions for persons engaged in slaughtering operations;
"(C) bring about improvement of products and economies in slaughtering operations; and
"(D) produce other benefits for producers, processors, and consumers that tend to expedite an orderly flow of livestock and livestock products in interstate and foreign commerce.
Pub. L. 104–127, title IX, subtitle A, Apr. 4, 1996, 110 Stat. 1184, provided that:
"Because of the unique and special needs of equine being transported to slaughter, Congress finds that it is appropriate for the Secretary of Agriculture to issue guidelines for the regulation of the commercial transportation of equine for slaughter by persons regularly engaged in that activity within the United States.
"In this subtitle:
"(A) means any individual, partnership, corporation, or cooperative association that regularly engages in the commercial transportation of equine for slaughter; but
"(B) does not include any individual or other entity referred to in subparagraph (A) that occasionally transports equine for slaughter incidental to the principal activity of the individual or other entity in production agriculture.
"(1) require any person to maintain such records and reports as the Secretary considers necessary;
"(2) conduct such investigations and inspections as the Secretary considers necessary; and
"(3) establish and enforce appropriate and effective civil penalties.
"Nothing in this subtitle authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to regulate the routine or regular transportation, to slaughter or elsewhere, of—
"(1) livestock other than equine; or
"This subtitle shall become effective on the first day of the first month that begins 30 days or more after the date of enactment of this Act [Apr. 4, 1996]."