The American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF) has released an updated version of the “AMI Foundation Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines & Audit Guide: A Systematic Approach to Animal Welfare, July 2013 Edition.”
AMI’s Animal Welfare Committee collaborates regularly with the guidelines’ well-known author, Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, to determine any necessary changes and clarifications based on real-world use. The audit underwent a major overhaul in 2010 when a transportation audit was added, was fine-tuned for the August 2012 edition, and has been tweaked even further for the current (July 2013) release.
The most recent edition features the following changes: a clarification that farrowing on trucks should be counted, just as calving and lambing are; a new category called “ambulatory disabled animals” in Core Criteria Six of the transportation audit to track animals that can still walk and are not severely injured, but appear lame and have some impairment of movement; and under Core Criteria 2 of the sheep transportation audit, an omission of “compartments gated” has been corrected.
The new edition has received an updated certification from the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO). The guidelines were the first and are still the only association-authored animal welfare guidelines certified by the organization.
AMI Animal Welfare Committee Chairman Rob Elder, director of HACCP, food safety and regulatory compliance at Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based meat processor Seaboard Foods, noted the guidelines’ “long history in encouraging continuous improvement in animal handling and welfare in meat packing plants and … our continuing effort to make this a living, breathing document that is improved and refined based upon new knowledge and real-world experience.”