This article shall be known by the short title of "The Humane Slaughter Act of 1982."
The purpose of this article is to restrict the methods used to slaughter cattle, sheep, swine and goats in commercial slaughtering establishments in West Virginia to those approved as humane techniques.
As used in this article:
(a) "Commercial slaughtering establishments" means a person engaged for profit in this state in the business of slaughtering or dressing animals for human consumption which are to be sold or offered for sale through a commercial outlet or establishment;
(b) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of agriculture of the State of West Virginia and his duly authorized representatives;
(c) "License" means any person licensed under the provisions of article two-b, chapter nineteen of the Code of West Virginia;
(d) "Person" means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, fiduciary or other group of persons whether organized or not;
(e) "Livestock" means cattle, swine, sheep or goats.
The commissioner shall administer and enforce the provisions of this article and shall have authority to issue regulations, after a public hearing, following due notice to all interested persons in conformance with the provisions of the state administrative procedures as set forth in chapter twenty- nine-a of this code, to carry out the provisions of the article. Commercial slaughtering facilities shall be in compliance with the provisions of this article within six months after the effective date of the article.
(a) Livestock, before being shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast or cut must be rendered insensible to pain by a single blow, gunshot or by electrical, chemical or other means that is safe, rapid and effective; or
(b) By slaughtering in accordance with the ritual requirements of the Jewish faith or any other religious faith that prescribes a method of slaughter by the simultaneous and instantaneous severance of the carotid arteries with a sharp instrument as well as handling techniques in connection with such slaughtering; or
(c) By slaughtering in accordance with any method of humane slaughter approved by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Any person violating any provision of this article or regulations adopted hereunder shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500, and for the second offense, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 and shall have the license to do business as a slaughtering establishment, under article two-b, chapter nineteen of the Code of West Virginia, suspended until the facility is in compliance with the provisions of this article.
If any provision of this article or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the article which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of the article are declared to be severable.