Spring Cleaning: Animal Handling Procedures in Employee Handbooks

Rincker Law Animal Law, Food & Ag Law 3 Comments

I have written blogs/articles and have spoken on livestock animal cruelty law in New York and my various recommendations for building a defense.  Among them, I recommend that livestock producers have an employee handbook in place that enumerates recommended animal handling procedures and regularly train employees on those procedures.  An employee handbook is not a contract but is instead a general guide to policies for that farm.

What animal handling guidelines should you use?  That depends on the laws of your state the specific needs of your organization.  You can use voluntary animal welfare programs as a starting point.  For example, I recently completed the Beef Quality Assurance program which included some recommended handling techniques for vaccinations and transportation.  For those of you who are cattle producers in New York, have you explored the New York State Cattle Health Assurance Program(“NYSCHAP”)?  I wrote a brief post on NYSCHAP here.

So when is the last time you updated your employee handbook?  Does it have enumerated animal handling procedures? I recommend working with your veterinarian, extension specialist and/or your attorney to make sure the employee handbook contains guidelines compliant with state and federal law.

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