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Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes Annotated. Title 3 Pa.C.S.A. Agriculture Code. Part IV. Animals and Animal Products. Chapter 23. Domestic Animals. Subchapter F. Slaughter and Processing of Domestic Animals.

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: 3 Pa.C.S.A. 2361 - 2362

Citation: PA ST 3 Pa.C.S.A. 2361 - 2362

Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 01/2014

Summary:   These laws comprise Pennsylvania's humane slaughter provisions.  The section begins with the enabling statute that grants authority to the relevant state agency.  It then declares that humane methods shall be used in the handling of domestic animals for slaughter and in the actual bleeding and slaughter of domestic animals except in the cases of slaughter for ritual purposes or individual (e.g., non-commercial) consumption.  The law itself does not proscribe penalties for non-compliance (but such may be listed in departmental regulations).

Statute in Full:

§ 2361. General authority

The department shall have authority to regulate the destruction, slaughter or processing of domestic animals in order to assure the proper treatment of domestic animals and the safety and quality of food of domestic animal origin. The department may:

(1) Establish standards for the humane slaughter of domestic animals.

(2) Regulate the slaughter and processing of domestic animals for human or animal consumption and may require the licensure of slaughter and processing establishments.

(3) Establish minimum standards regarding the health and quality of domestic animals permitted to be processed for human consumption or animal feed.


1996, July 11, P.L. 561, No. 100, § 1, effective in 60 days.


§ 2362. Humane methods of slaughtering domestic animals

(a) Humane methods required.--

(1) Humane methods shall be used in the handling of domestic animals for slaughter and in the actual bleeding and slaughter of domestic animals.

(2) The use of a manually operated hammer, sledge or poleax by slaughterers, packers or stockyard operators during slaughtering operations is not a humane method of slaughter.

(b) Ritual slaughter.--Subsection (a) shall not apply to the operator of a commercial establishment with respect to the positioning and ritual slaughter of cows, poultry and sheep until one year after the department finds and notifies the operator that there is available at reasonable cost a ritually acceptable, practicable and humane method of handling or otherwise preparing conscious calves, poultry and sheep for slaughter.

(c) Exception.--Subsection (a) shall not apply to a farmer or other person slaughtering domestic animals owned by the farmer or person.

(d) Construction of section.--This section shall not be construed to prohibit, abridge or in any way hinder the religious freedom of any person or group.

(e) Review.--Determinations made by the department under authority of this section shall be subject to review in the manner provided by 2 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 Subch. A (relating to judicial review of Commonwealth agency action).

(f) Applicability.--Where the slaughtering operations of slaughterers, packers or stockyard operators who would otherwise be subject to the requirements of this section are subject to inspection by the United States Department of Agriculture, applicable Federal law shall control, and the determination of whether slaughter is conducted by humane methods shall be made by the United States Department of Agriculture in accordance with Federal authority on the subject of humane methods of slaughter.


1996, July 11, P.L. 561, No. 100, § 1, effective in 60 days.


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