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.
SHORT TITLE OF 1978 AMENDMENT 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.ENFORCEMENT OF HUMANE METHODS OF SLAUGHTER ACT OF 1958 Pub. L. 107–171, title X, §10305, May 13, 2002, 116 Stat. 493, provided that: "(a) Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that the Secretary of Agriculture should— "(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. "(b) United States Policy.—It is 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, as provided by Public Law 85–765." COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION OF EQUINE FOR SLAUGHTER Pub. L. 104–127, title IX, subtitle A, Apr. 4, 1996, 110 Stat. 1184, provided that: "SEC. 901. FINDINGS. "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. "SEC. 902. DEFINITIONS. "In this subtitle: "(1) Commercial transportation.—The term ‘commercial transportation’ means the regular operation for profit of a transport business that uses trucks, tractors, trailers, or semitrailers, or any combination thereof, propelled or drawn by mechanical power on any highway or public road. "(2) Equine for slaughter.—The term ‘equine for slaughter’ means any member of the Equidae family being transferred to a slaughter facility, including an assembly point, feedlot, or stockyard. "(3) Person.—The term ‘person’— "(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. "SEC. 903. REGULATION OF COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION OF EQUINE FOR SLAUGHTER. "(a) In General.—Subject to the availability of appropriations, the Secretary of Agriculture may issue guidelines for the regulation of the commercial transportation of equine for slaughter by persons regularly engaged in that activity within the United States. "(b) Issues for Review.—In carrying out this section, the Secretary of Agriculture shall review the food, water, and rest provided to equine for slaughter in transit, the segregation of stallions from other equine during transit, and such other issues as the Secretary considers appropriate. "(c) Additional Authority.—In carrying out this section, the Secretary of Agriculture may— "(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. "SEC. 904. LIMITATION OF AUTHORITY TO EQUINE FOR SLAUGHTER. "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 "(2) poultry. "SEC. 905. EFFECTIVE DATE. "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]."
7 U.S.C. § 1901 (2018)