Restaurant audits have maintained high standards of stunning and handling at beef slaughter plants.

T. Grandin, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO USA.

Journal of Animal Science, Vol. 81, p. 156 (Supl.) (Abstract)

From 1999 until the present, restaurant companies such as McDonalds Corporation, Wendys and Burger King have been auditing stunning and handling at beef slaughter plants for animal welfare. This has resulted improvements in stunning and handling. To pass the audit, a plant must comply with the American Meat Institute guidelines at an acceptable level of performance. On a 100 animal audit, 95% or more of the cattle must, be stunned with one captive bolt shot, 100% rendered insensible on the bleed rail, 75% moved without an electric prod and only 3% of the cattle vocalize during handling and stunning. Data collected prior to the restaurant audits indicated the following percentages of plants at the acceptable were stunning 30%, insensibility 90%, electric prod use 43% and vocalization 43%. Four years of restaurant audit data (1999 to 2001) indicate an improvement in the percentage of plants at the acceptable le\,-el. For stunning, the percentage of plants passing the audit were 90%, 90%, 91% and 94%. Insensibility was 97%, 98%, 93% and 95%. Vocalization was 71%, 80%, 86% and 91%. Electric prod use as 76%, 67%, 76% and 82%. The number of plants audited was 1999, N=41; 2000, N=49; 2001, N=44 and 2002, N=57. Data from 2002 indicated that 54 plants that were experienced with audits all passed the stunning audit and only one had a partially sensible animal. Three out of four new plants did not know what was expected and they performed poorly. Two of these plants stunned less than 90% of the cattle with one shot. Plants that have good internal auditing usually perform better than plants which do not have internal auditing. On the 2001 data, inter-observer agreement was compared on the percentage of plants scored acceptable on stunning by three different auditors. There was no significant difference between auditors (Chi Square .077 p < 0.75).

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