These statutes comprise Vermont's humane slaughter provisions. The law requires the humane slaughter of all commercial livestock with a "humane method" defined as a method whereby the animal is rendered insensible to pain by mechanical, electrical, chemical or other means that is rapid and effective before being shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast or cut (with exemptions for religious ritual slaughter). A person who violates this chapter shall be fined not more than $100.00 nor less than $50.00 or imprisoned not more than ninety days, or both, and in addition, the secretary may seek an injunction against a slaughterer.
§ 3131 Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) "Secretary" means the secretary of agriculture, food and markets.
(2) "Slaughterer" means any person regularly engaged in the commercial slaughtering of livestock.
(3) "Livestock" means cattle, calves, sheep, swine, horses, mules, goats, fallow deer, American bison and any other animal which can or may be used in and for the preparation of meat or meat products.
(4) "Packer" means any person engaged in the business of slaughtering, manufacturing or preparing meat or meat products for sale.
(5) "Stockyard" means any place, establishment or facility conducted or operated for compensation or profit as a public market, consisting of pens, or other enclosures, and their appurtenances, for the handling, keeping and holding of livestock for sale or shipment.
(6) "Humane method" means either:
(A) A method whereby the animal is rendered insensible to pain by mechanical, electrical, chemical or other means that is rapid and effective before being shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast or cut.
(B) A method in accordance with ritual requirements of the Jewish faith or any other religious faith whereby the animal suffers loss of consciousness by anemia of the brain caused by the simultaneous and instantaneous severance of the carotid arteries with a sharp instrument.-- 1967, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. March 20, 1968; amended 1987, No. 276 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003.
§ 3132 Prohibition
No slaughterer, packer or stockyard operator may bleed or slaughter livestock except by a humane method. The use of a manually operated hammer, sledge, poleax or similar instrument is not a humane method within the meaning of this chapter.-- 1967, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. March 20, 1968.
§ 3133 Administration; rules and regulations
The secretary shall administer this chapter, and shall promulgate and from time to time revise rules and regulations to affect its purpose. The rules and regulations shall conform substantially with those promulgated by the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States under the Federal Humane Slaughter Act of 1958, Public Law 85-765, 72 Statute 862, as from time to time amended, but may be modified to meet local conditions.-- 1967, No. 297 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. March 20, 1968, amended 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003.
§ 3134 Penalty
A person who violates section 3132 of this title shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined upon conviction not more than $1,000.00 for the first violation, not more than $5,000.00 for the second violation, and not more than $10,000.00 per violation for the third and any subsequent violations, or imprisoned not more than two years, or both. In addition to the penalties provided in this subsection, the secretary may seek an injunction against a slaughterer, packer, or stockyard operator who engages in practices which are prohibited by section 3132 of this title, by application to the superior court for the county in which such slaughterer, packer, or stockyard operator resides, or where such violations occur. The secretary may refer a violation of section 3132 of this title to the attorney general or the state's attorney for criminal prosecution. The secretary may also take any action authorized under chapter 1 of this title.
1967, Adj. Sess., No. 297, § 5; 2003, No. 42, § 2; 2009, Adj. Sess., No. 158, § 9, eff. June 3, 2010.