Livestock Transport - the 28 Hour Law

Jan 27, 2010
Livestock trailer picture
The USDA Food Safety Inspection Service recently released a notice on the 28 Hour Law. Basically this law deals with humane treatment of animals that are being transported to a federally inspected harvest facility and provides Inspection Program Personnel (IPP) with instructions on how to enforce it. Here is what the 28 Hour Law says:


A. Under the Twenty-Eight Hour Law, transporters are required to stop to provide animals with food, water, and rest. Transporters who have deprived livestock of food, water, or rest for more than 28 hours are in violation of the Twenty-Eight Hour Law (49 USC 80502).

B. If livestock arriving on a transport vehicle appear exhausted or dehydrated, IPP are to ask establishment management whether the truck driver stopped within 28 hours to provide the animals rest, food, and water. If the truck driver or establishment is unwilling to provide information, or if IPP believe the condition of the animals could be the result of being deprived of rest, food, and water for over 28 hours, IPP are to contact the APHIS, Area Veterinarian-in-Charge, via their FSIS chain of command, so that APHIS can conduct an investigation.

The full copy of the USDA FSIS Notice can be read at:

By John M Harper
Author - Livestock & Natural Resources Advisor - Emeritus