(1) Sections 828.22-828.26 may be cited as the “Humane Slaughter Act.”
(2)(a) The Legislature of this state finds that the use of humane methods in the killing of livestock prevents needless suffering, results in safer and better working conditions for persons engaged in the slaughtering industry or other livestock operations, brings about improvement of products and economy in slaughtering or other livestock operations, and produces other benefits for producers, processors, and consumers which tend to expedite the orderly flow of livestock and their products.
(b) It is therefore declared to be the policy of this state to require that the slaughter of all livestock and the handling of livestock in connection with slaughter shall be carried out only by humane methods and to provide that methods of slaughter shall conform generally to those employed in other states where humane slaughter is required by law and to those authorized by the federal Humane Slaughter Act of 1958, and regulations thereunder.
(3) Nothing in ss. 828.22-828.26 shall be construed to prohibit, abridge, or in any way hinder the religious freedom of any person or group. Notwithstanding any other provision of ss. 828.22-828.26, in order to protect freedom of religion, ritual slaughter and the handling or other preparation of livestock for ritual slaughter are exempted from the terms of ss. 828.22-828.26. For the purposes of this action the term “ritual slaughter” means slaughter in accordance with s. 828.23(3).