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Farm Animals and the Law


When we hear about Animal Law Clinics and Projects, or maybe even the work of Temple Grandin, most of us do not think about farm animals and the law:

Cow Whipping: How violent can a farmer get with his livestock?,” by Brian Palmer, Slate, Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Excerpt: “An animal rights group has released a video showing workers at an Ohio dairy farm punching cows, stabbing them with a pitchfork, and beating them with a crowbar. How violent is a rancher or dairy farmer allowed to get with his livestock?

In some states, as violent as he likes. Farmers, for the most part, are merely expected to abide by industry standards—that is, to treat their livestock as other farmers do….

Federal law has very little to say about the treatment of livestock. The Animal Welfare Act applies mainly to research animals. The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act requires farmers to knock out livestock with a single blow, shot, or electrical charge before being butchering them, but the law only governs slaughterhouses, not farms. (It also doesn’t apply to poultry, which represents more than 95 percent of slaughtered animals. You’re free to kill your chicken any way you like under federal law.) The 28 Hour Law of 1873 requires that farm animals get five hours of R & R for every 28 hours of train transport, but few cattle ride the rails these days….”
(Read full Slate article.)

(Thank you to Rob at Law in the News for the lead.)

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