Inhumane Handling of Livestock in Connection With Slaughter by Persons Not Employed by the Official Establishment, 74280-74282 [2016-24754]

Download as PDF 74280 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 207 / Wednesday, October 26, 2016 / Rules and Regulations eligible for export from the United States. * * * * * Done in Washington, DC, this 21st day of October 2016. Kevin Shea, Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. [FR Doc. 2016–25860 Filed 10–25–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3410–34–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Food Safety and Inspection Service 9 CFR Parts 313, 320, and 500 [Docket No. FSIS–2016–0004] Inhumane Handling of Livestock in Connection With Slaughter by Persons Not Employed by the Official Establishment Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA. ACTION: Final determination and opportunity for comments. AGENCY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), is announcing its intent to hold livestock owners, transporters, haulers and other persons not employed by an official establishment responsible if they commit acts involving inhumane handling of livestock in connection with slaughter when on the premises of an official establishment. The Agency intends to initiate civil or criminal action, in appropriate circumstances, against individuals not employed by an official establishment, if these individuals handle livestock inhumanely in connection with slaughter when on the official premises. FSIS believes these actions will further improve the welfare of livestock handled in connection with slaughter by ensuring that all persons that inhumanely handle livestock in connection with slaughter are held accountable. DATES: Comments must be received by November 25, 2016. FSIS will implement the actions discussed in this document on January 24, 2017, unless FSIS receives comments that demonstrate a need to revise this date. FSIS will publish a Federal Register document affirming the implementation date. ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this notice. Comments may be submitted by either of the following methods: Federal eRulemaking Portal: This Web site provides the ability to type Lhorne on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:02 Oct 25, 2016 Jkt 241001 short comments directly into the comment field on this Web page or attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/. Follow the on-line instructions at that site for submitting comments. Mail, including CD–ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Room Manager, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza 3, 14000 Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 8–163B, Washington, DC 20250–3700. Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E. Street SW., Room 8–163B. Washington, DC 20250–3700. Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Agency name and docket number FSIS– 2016–0004. Comments received in response to this docket will be made available for public inspection and posted without change, including any personal information, to http:// www.regulations.gov. Docket: For access to background documents or to comments received, go to the FSIS Docket Room at Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E. Street SW., Room 8–164, Washington, DC 20250–3700 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel L. Engeljohn, Ph.D., Assistant Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development, FSIS, USDA; Telephone: (202) 205–0495. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background FSIS administers the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), which establishes requirements for the premises, facilities, and operations of official establishments that slaughter livestock and prepare meat and meat products for human food to ensure both the safety of meat and the humane slaughter and handling of livestock. The FMIA provides that, for the purposes of preventing inhumane slaughter of livestock, the Secretary of Agriculture will assign inspectors to examine and inspect the methods by which livestock are slaughtered and handled in connection with slaughter in slaughtering establishments subject to inspection under the FMIA (21 U.S.C. 603(b)). The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA) (7 U.S.C. 1901 et seq.) requires that the slaughter of livestock and the handling of livestock in connection with slaughter be carried out only by humane methods (7 U.S.C. 1901). Therefore, FSIS requires official establishments to humanely handle livestock that are on the official PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 premises, on vehicles that are on the official premises, and on vehicles in queue for slaughter establishments. Once a vehicle carrying livestock enters, or is in line to enter, an official establishment’s premises, the vehicle is considered to be part of that official establishment’s premises (see FSIS Directive 6900.2). With respect to enforcement action at the establishment, the FMIA and implementing regulations provide that FSIS may suspend inspection services from an official establishment for inhumane slaughter or inhumane handling in connection with slaughter (21 U.S.C. 603(b); 9 CFR part 500). The FMIA (21 U.S.C. 610) provides that no person, establishment, or corporation shall slaughter or handle in connection with slaughter any livestock in any manner not in accordance with the HMSA (21 U.S.C. 610(b)). The FMIA also provides for the issuance of warning letters and for initiation of criminal and civil action for violations (21 U.S.C. 674 and 676). Livestock transporters or haulers transport animals to slaughter establishments. Many of these individuals are not employed by the establishment and thus are not required to follow instructions from the establishment on the handling of livestock in connection with slaughter. Unlike owners of Federal establishments, non-employees, such as livestock transporters, generally do not hold a grant of Federal inspection and therefore are not subject to FSIS administrative enforcement actions. When non-employee transporters inhumanely handle livestock on the premises of an official establishment, FSIS takes action against the establishment (see FSIS Directive 6900.2). For purposes of this document, livestock transporters, haulers, or other persons not employed by an official establishment that handle livestock in connection with slaughter are collectively referred to as ‘‘nonemployee transporters’’, or simply ‘‘nonemployees.’’ On January 21, 2015, FSIS received a petition from an attorney on behalf of an official swine slaughter establishment requesting that FSIS review its humane handling enforcement policy (available on the FSIS Web page at http:// www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/ 4d9160de-a7a1-4fd9-88ff-e3b24bf8d1e9/ 15-03-Non-Employee-HumaneHandling.pdf?MOD=AJPERES). The petition stated that official establishments should not be held accountable when non-employees inhumanely handle livestock on the official establishment premises. FSIS E:\FR\FM\26OCR1.SGM 26OCR1 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 207 / Wednesday, October 26, 2016 / Rules and Regulations Lhorne on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES has decided to grant the petition and is publishing this document to describe the actions that the Agency will take when non-employee transporters inhumanely handle livestock on the premises of an official establishment. Non-Employee Violations FSIS intends to hold non-employees accountable for their actions if they inhumanely handle livestock in connection with slaughter when on the premises of an official establishment. When FSIS’s Office of Field Operations (OFO) inspection program personnel (IPP) observe a non-employee inhumanely handling livestock in connection with slaughter, FSIS will instruct them to produce a written record of the event and forward the record to their District Office. The District Office will refer the record, when appropriate, to FSIS’s Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit (OIEA) to conduct follow-up investigations and enforcement action. As discussed below, FSIS intends to update its livestock handling instructions to OFO and OIEA personnel to reflect the actions described in this document. These instructions will include a description of the type of information that IPP are to include in their written records of the event. In accordance with FSIS Directive 8010.5 Case Referral and Disposition, OIEA personnel will evaluate the case for determination of action, including warning letters for minor violations, civil action for repetitive violations, and criminal prosecution for egregious violations (21 U.S.C. 674 and 676). The actions that FSIS is announcing in this document are intended to enhance the Agency’s ability to ensure the humane handling of livestock in connection with slaughter and do not replace existing enforcement policies. FSIS will continue to use its administrative authority to take action against the establishment when establishment employees are found responsible for inhumane handling of livestock. FSIS will consider the involvement of non-employees in incidents of inhumane handling while on establishment premises to assess the appropriate administrative enforcement actions, if any, that the Agency will take against the establishment. The following examples illustrate how FSIS intends to implement this policy. If FSIS determines that a nonemployee is solely responsible for a humane handling violation, FSIS will use its authority to initiate action solely against the non-employee and will not take administrative enforcement action VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:02 Oct 25, 2016 Jkt 241001 against the establishment. For example, if OFO personnel observe a nonemployee driving animals too fast and causing a few to slip and fall, and establishment employees are not involved in the event, FSIS will initiate action against the non-employee and will not take an administrative enforcement action against the establishment. If FSIS determines that a nonemployee and an establishment employee both are engaged in a humane handling violation, FSIS will use its authority to initiate action against the non-employee and to take a regulatory control action or administrative enforcement action, as appropriate, against the establishment. For example, if OFO personnel observe a nonemployee transporter and an establishment employee driving animals too fast, FSIS will initiate an action against the non-employee and take a separate regulatory or administrative enforcement action against the establishment. OFO personnel will take a regulatory control action when it is necessary for FSIS to stop the inhumane treatment of livestock because the violation continues to injure, cause distress, or otherwise adversely affects livestock, or to immediately stop inhumane handling that is egregious, regardless of whether a non-employee or an establishment employee is responsible for the inhumane handling (9 CFR 500.2(a)(4), 9 CFR 313.50). After taking a regulatory control action, OFO personnel will meet with establishment management and assess the event to determine whether a non-employee, an establishment employee, or both committed the humane handling violation. For example, if OFO personnel observe the excessive beating of livestock during unloading, FSIS personnel may apply a tag to the unloading chute to prevent further inhumane handling. FSIS personnel would meet with establishment management and make a determination as to whether the persons responsible for the inhumane handling were non-employees or were employed by the establishment. If a non-employee is found to be solely responsible for the inhumane handling violation, OFO personnel would not take regulatory or administrative enforcement actions against the establishment. OFO personnel would remove the tag after the establishment proffers preventive measures that ensure compliance with the appropriate provisions of 9 CFR part 313. If OFO personnel determine that a non-employee inhumanely handled livestock on the premises of an official PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 74281 slaughter establishment, FSIS expects that establishment management will provide, upon request, certain records that are required to be maintained under 9 CFR part 320. These records include, among others, the name and address of the seller of the livestock, the method of shipment, the date of shipment, and the name and address of the carrier (9 CFR 320.1(b)(1)). If establishment management does not provide the information upon request, FSIS may obtain a subpoena to gain access to the non-employee information required under 9 CFR 320.1. Implementation and Request for Comments FSIS requests comments on its decision to initiate enforcement actions against non-employees that inhumanely handle livestock in connection with slaughter while on the premises of an official establishment. FSIS will make changes to its implementation plans as necessary in response to the comments received. The Agency also will update its livestock handling instructions to OFO and OIEA personnel and its humane handling guidance materials to reflect the actions described in this document. FSIS will begin implementing the policy discussed in this action 90 days after its publication in the Federal Register, unless FSIS receives comments that demonstrate a need to revise this plan. The Agency will announce the availability of its updated humane handling guidance materials in a separate Federal Register notice. Additionally, FSIS will perform outreach to industry to educate slaughter establishments as well as animal transporters, haulers, and allied industries. USDA Non-Discrimination Statement No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/ parental status, income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to discrimination any person in the United States under any program or activity conducted by the USDA. How To File a Complaint of Discrimination To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http:// www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/ docs/2012/ Complain_combined_6_8_12.pdf, or E:\FR\FM\26OCR1.SGM 26OCR1 74282 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 207 / Wednesday, October 26, 2016 / Rules and Regulations write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative. Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, or email: Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250–9410, Fax: (202) 690–7442, Email: program.intake@usda.gov. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice and TDD). Additional Public Notification Lhorne on DSK30JT082PROD with RULES [FR Doc. 2016–24754 Filed 10–25–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:02 Oct 25, 2016 Jkt 241001 Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 27 [Docket No. FAA–2016–9308; Special Conditions No. 27–040–SC] Special Conditions: Airbus Helicopters Model EC120B Helicopters, Installation of HeliSAS Autopilot and Stabilization Augmentation System (AP/SAS) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Final special conditions; request for comments. AGENCY: These special conditions are issued for the modification of the Airbus Helicopters Model EC120B helicopter. This model helicopter will have a novel or unusual design feature after installation of the S–TEC Corporation (S–TEC) HeliSAS helicopter autopilot/ stabilization augmentation system (AP/ SAS) that has potential failure conditions with more severe adverse consequences than those envisioned by the existing applicable airworthiness regulations. These special conditions contain the added safety standards the Administrator considers necessary to ensure the failures and their effects are sufficiently analyzed and contained. DATES: The effective date of these special conditions is October 26, 2016. We must receive your comments on or before December 12, 2016. ADDRESSES: Send comments identified by docket number [FAA–2016–9308] using any of the following methods: • Federal eRegulations Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically. • Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M–30, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12–140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590–0001. • Hand Delivery of Courier: Deliver comments to the Docket Operations, in Room W12–140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC between 9 a.m., and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. • Fax: Fax comments to Docket Operations at 202–493–2251. Privacy: The FAA will post all comments it receives, without change, to http://regulations.gov, including any personal information the commenter provides. Using the search function of the docket Web site, anyone can find and read the electronic form of all comments received into any FAA SUMMARY: Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal Register publication on-line through the FSIS Web page located at: http:// www.fsis.usda.gov/federal-register. FSIS will also make copies of this Federal Register publication available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information that could affect or would be of interest to constituents and stakeholders. The Update is communicated via Listserv, a free electronic mail subscription service for industry, trade groups, consumer interest groups, health professionals, and other individuals who have asked to be included. The Update is also available on the FSIS Web page. In addition, FSIS offers an electronic mail subscription service which provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news and information. This service is available at: http:// www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe. Options range from recalls to export information to regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password protect their accounts. Dated: October 6, 2016. Alfred V. Almanza, Acting Administrator. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 docket, including the name of the individual sending the comment (or signing the comment for an association, business, labor union, etc.). DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement can be found in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477–19478), as well as at http://DocketsInfo.dot.gov. Docket: Background documents or comments received may be read at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for accessing the docket or go to the Docket Operations in Room W12–140 of the West Building Ground Floor at 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m., and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gary Roach, Aviation Safety Engineer, FAA, Rotorcraft Directorate, Regulations and Policy Group (ASW–111), 10101 Hillwood Parkway, Fort Worth, Texas 76177; telephone (817) 222–4859; facsimile (817) 222–5961; or email to Gary.Roach@faa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Reason for No Prior Notice and Comment Before Adoption The FAA has determined that notice and opportunity for public comment are unnecessary because the substance of these special conditions has been subjected to the notice and comment period previously and has been derived without substantive change from those previously issued. As it is unlikely that we will receive new comments, the FAA finds that good cause exists for making these special conditions effective upon issuance. Comments Invited While we did not precede this with a notice of proposed special conditions, we invite interested people to take part in this action by sending written comments, data, or views. The most helpful comments reference a specific portion of the special conditions, explain the reason for any recommended change, and include supporting data. We will consider all comments we receive by the closing date for comments. We will consider comments filed late if it is possible to do so without incurring expense or delay. We may change these special conditions based on the comments we receive. If you want us to let you know we received your mailed comments on these special conditions, send us a preaddressed, stamped postcard on which the docket number appears. We will stamp the date on the postcard and mail it back to you. E:\FR\FM\26OCR1.SGM 26OCR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 207 (Wednesday, October 26, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 74280-74282]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-24754]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Food Safety and Inspection Service

9 CFR Parts 313, 320, and 500

[Docket No. FSIS-2016-0004]


Inhumane Handling of Livestock in Connection With Slaughter by 
Persons Not Employed by the Official Establishment

AGENCY: Food Safety and Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Final determination and opportunity for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), is announcing 
its intent to hold livestock owners, transporters, haulers and other 
persons not employed by an official establishment responsible if they 
commit acts involving inhumane handling of livestock in connection with 
slaughter when on the premises of an official establishment. The Agency 
intends to initiate civil or criminal action, in appropriate 
circumstances, against individuals not employed by an official 
establishment, if these individuals handle livestock inhumanely in 
connection with slaughter when on the official premises. FSIS believes 
these actions will further improve the welfare of livestock handled in 
connection with slaughter by ensuring that all persons that inhumanely 
handle livestock in connection with slaughter are held accountable.

DATES: Comments must be received by November 25, 2016. FSIS will 
implement the actions discussed in this document on January 24, 2017, 
unless FSIS receives comments that demonstrate a need to revise this 
date. FSIS will publish a Federal Register document affirming the 
implementation date.

ADDRESSES: FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this 
notice. Comments may be submitted by either of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: This Web site provides the ability to 
type short comments directly into the comment field on this Web page or 
attach a file for lengthier comments. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/
. Follow the on-line instructions at that site for submitting comments.
    Mail, including CD-ROMs, etc.: Send to Docket Room Manager, U.S. 
Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots 
Plaza 3, 14000 Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163B, 
Washington, DC 20250-3700.
    Hand- or courier-delivered submittals: Deliver to Patriots Plaza 3, 
355 E. Street SW., Room 8-163B. Washington, DC 20250-3700.
    Instructions: All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must 
include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2016-0004. Comments 
received in response to this docket will be made available for public 
inspection and posted without change, including any personal 
information, to http://www.regulations.gov.
    Docket: For access to background documents or to comments received, 
go to the FSIS Docket Room at Patriots Plaza 3, 355 E. Street SW., Room 
8-164, Washington, DC 20250-3700 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday 
through Friday.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Daniel L. Engeljohn, Ph.D., Assistant 
Administrator, Office of Policy and Program Development, FSIS, USDA; 
Telephone: (202) 205-0495.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    FSIS administers the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) (21 U.S.C. 
601 et seq.), which establishes requirements for the premises, 
facilities, and operations of official establishments that slaughter 
livestock and prepare meat and meat products for human food to ensure 
both the safety of meat and the humane slaughter and handling of 
livestock. The FMIA provides that, for the purposes of preventing 
inhumane slaughter of livestock, the Secretary of Agriculture will 
assign inspectors to examine and inspect the methods by which livestock 
are slaughtered and handled in connection with slaughter in 
slaughtering establishments subject to inspection under the FMIA (21 
U.S.C. 603(b)). The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA) (7 U.S.C. 
1901 et seq.) requires that the slaughter of livestock and the handling 
of livestock in connection with slaughter be carried out only by humane 
methods (7 U.S.C. 1901). Therefore, FSIS requires official 
establishments to humanely handle livestock that are on the official 
premises, on vehicles that are on the official premises, and on 
vehicles in queue for slaughter establishments. Once a vehicle carrying 
livestock enters, or is in line to enter, an official establishment's 
premises, the vehicle is considered to be part of that official 
establishment's premises (see FSIS Directive 6900.2).
    With respect to enforcement action at the establishment, the FMIA 
and implementing regulations provide that FSIS may suspend inspection 
services from an official establishment for inhumane slaughter or 
inhumane handling in connection with slaughter (21 U.S.C. 603(b); 9 CFR 
part 500). The FMIA (21 U.S.C. 610) provides that no person, 
establishment, or corporation shall slaughter or handle in connection 
with slaughter any livestock in any manner not in accordance with the 
HMSA (21 U.S.C. 610(b)). The FMIA also provides for the issuance of 
warning letters and for initiation of criminal and civil action for 
violations (21 U.S.C. 674 and 676).
    Livestock transporters or haulers transport animals to slaughter 
establishments. Many of these individuals are not employed by the 
establishment and thus are not required to follow instructions from the 
establishment on the handling of livestock in connection with 
slaughter.
    Unlike owners of Federal establishments, non-employees, such as 
livestock transporters, generally do not hold a grant of Federal 
inspection and therefore are not subject to FSIS administrative 
enforcement actions. When non-employee transporters inhumanely handle 
livestock on the premises of an official establishment, FSIS takes 
action against the establishment (see FSIS Directive 6900.2). For 
purposes of this document, livestock transporters, haulers, or other 
persons not employed by an official establishment that handle livestock 
in connection with slaughter are collectively referred to as ``non-
employee transporters'', or simply ``non-employees.''
    On January 21, 2015, FSIS received a petition from an attorney on 
behalf of an official swine slaughter establishment requesting that 
FSIS review its humane handling enforcement policy (available on the 
FSIS Web page at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/4d9160de-a7a1-4fd9-88ff-e3b24bf8d1e9/15-03-Non-Employee-Humane-Handling.pdf?MOD=AJPERES). The petition stated that official 
establishments should not be held accountable when non-employees 
inhumanely handle livestock on the official establishment premises. 
FSIS

[[Page 74281]]

has decided to grant the petition and is publishing this document to 
describe the actions that the Agency will take when non-employee 
transporters inhumanely handle livestock on the premises of an official 
establishment.

Non-Employee Violations

    FSIS intends to hold non-employees accountable for their actions if 
they inhumanely handle livestock in connection with slaughter when on 
the premises of an official establishment.
    When FSIS's Office of Field Operations (OFO) inspection program 
personnel (IPP) observe a non-employee inhumanely handling livestock in 
connection with slaughter, FSIS will instruct them to produce a written 
record of the event and forward the record to their District Office. 
The District Office will refer the record, when appropriate, to FSIS's 
Office of Investigation, Enforcement and Audit (OIEA) to conduct 
follow-up investigations and enforcement action. As discussed below, 
FSIS intends to update its livestock handling instructions to OFO and 
OIEA personnel to reflect the actions described in this document. These 
instructions will include a description of the type of information that 
IPP are to include in their written records of the event. In accordance 
with FSIS Directive 8010.5 Case Referral and Disposition, OIEA 
personnel will evaluate the case for determination of action, including 
warning letters for minor violations, civil action for repetitive 
violations, and criminal prosecution for egregious violations (21 
U.S.C. 674 and 676).
    The actions that FSIS is announcing in this document are intended 
to enhance the Agency's ability to ensure the humane handling of 
livestock in connection with slaughter and do not replace existing 
enforcement policies. FSIS will continue to use its administrative 
authority to take action against the establishment when establishment 
employees are found responsible for inhumane handling of livestock. 
FSIS will consider the involvement of non-employees in incidents of 
inhumane handling while on establishment premises to assess the 
appropriate administrative enforcement actions, if any, that the Agency 
will take against the establishment. The following examples illustrate 
how FSIS intends to implement this policy.
    If FSIS determines that a non-employee is solely responsible for a 
humane handling violation, FSIS will use its authority to initiate 
action solely against the non-employee and will not take administrative 
enforcement action against the establishment. For example, if OFO 
personnel observe a non-employee driving animals too fast and causing a 
few to slip and fall, and establishment employees are not involved in 
the event, FSIS will initiate action against the non-employee and will 
not take an administrative enforcement action against the 
establishment.
    If FSIS determines that a non-employee and an establishment 
employee both are engaged in a humane handling violation, FSIS will use 
its authority to initiate action against the non-employee and to take a 
regulatory control action or administrative enforcement action, as 
appropriate, against the establishment. For example, if OFO personnel 
observe a non-employee transporter and an establishment employee 
driving animals too fast, FSIS will initiate an action against the non-
employee and take a separate regulatory or administrative enforcement 
action against the establishment.
    OFO personnel will take a regulatory control action when it is 
necessary for FSIS to stop the inhumane treatment of livestock because 
the violation continues to injure, cause distress, or otherwise 
adversely affects livestock, or to immediately stop inhumane handling 
that is egregious, regardless of whether a non-employee or an 
establishment employee is responsible for the inhumane handling (9 CFR 
500.2(a)(4), 9 CFR 313.50). After taking a regulatory control action, 
OFO personnel will meet with establishment management and assess the 
event to determine whether a non-employee, an establishment employee, 
or both committed the humane handling violation. For example, if OFO 
personnel observe the excessive beating of livestock during unloading, 
FSIS personnel may apply a tag to the unloading chute to prevent 
further inhumane handling. FSIS personnel would meet with establishment 
management and make a determination as to whether the persons 
responsible for the inhumane handling were non-employees or were 
employed by the establishment. If a non-employee is found to be solely 
responsible for the inhumane handling violation, OFO personnel would 
not take regulatory or administrative enforcement actions against the 
establishment. OFO personnel would remove the tag after the 
establishment proffers preventive measures that ensure compliance with 
the appropriate provisions of 9 CFR part 313.
    If OFO personnel determine that a non-employee inhumanely handled 
livestock on the premises of an official slaughter establishment, FSIS 
expects that establishment management will provide, upon request, 
certain records that are required to be maintained under 9 CFR part 
320. These records include, among others, the name and address of the 
seller of the livestock, the method of shipment, the date of shipment, 
and the name and address of the carrier (9 CFR 320.1(b)(1)). If 
establishment management does not provide the information upon request, 
FSIS may obtain a subpoena to gain access to the non-employee 
information required under 9 CFR 320.1.

Implementation and Request for Comments

    FSIS requests comments on its decision to initiate enforcement 
actions against non-employees that inhumanely handle livestock in 
connection with slaughter while on the premises of an official 
establishment. FSIS will make changes to its implementation plans as 
necessary in response to the comments received. The Agency also will 
update its livestock handling instructions to OFO and OIEA personnel 
and its humane handling guidance materials to reflect the actions 
described in this document. FSIS will begin implementing the policy 
discussed in this action 90 days after its publication in the Federal 
Register, unless FSIS receives comments that demonstrate a need to 
revise this plan. The Agency will announce the availability of its 
updated humane handling guidance materials in a separate Federal 
Register notice. Additionally, FSIS will perform outreach to industry 
to educate slaughter establishments as well as animal transporters, 
haulers, and allied industries.

USDA Non-Discrimination Statement

    No agency, officer, or employee of the USDA shall, on the grounds 
of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual 
orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, 
income derived from a public assistance program, or political beliefs, 
exclude from participation in, deny the benefits of, or subject to 
discrimination any person in the United States under any program or 
activity conducted by the USDA.

How To File a Complaint of Discrimination

    To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program 
Discrimination Complaint Form, which may be accessed online at http://www.ocio.usda.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2012/Complain_combined_6_8_12.pdf, or

[[Page 74282]]

write a letter signed by you or your authorized representative.
    Send your completed complaint form or letter to USDA by mail, fax, 
or email:
    Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of 
Adjudication, 400 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410, 
Fax: (202) 690-7442, Email: program.intake@usda.gov.
    Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for 
communication (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.), should contact 
USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).

Additional Public Notification

    Public awareness of all segments of rulemaking and policy 
development is important. Consequently, FSIS will announce this Federal 
Register publication on-line through the FSIS Web page located at: 
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/federal-register.
    FSIS will also make copies of this Federal Register publication 
available through the FSIS Constituent Update, which is used to provide 
information regarding FSIS policies, procedures, regulations, Federal 
Register notices, FSIS public meetings, and other types of information 
that could affect or would be of interest to constituents and 
stakeholders.
    The Update is communicated via Listserv, a free electronic mail 
subscription service for industry, trade groups, consumer interest 
groups, health professionals, and other individuals who have asked to 
be included. The Update is also available on the FSIS Web page. In 
addition, FSIS offers an electronic mail subscription service which 
provides automatic and customized access to selected food safety news 
and information. This service is available at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/subscribe. Options range from recalls to export 
information to regulations, directives, and notices. Customers can add 
or delete subscriptions themselves, and have the option to password 
protect their accounts.

    Dated: October 6, 2016.
Alfred V. Almanza,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2016-24754 Filed 10-25-16; 8:45 am]
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