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THE WELFARE OF RED-MEAT ANIMALS AT SLAUGHTER – DRAFT CODE OF PRACTICE

DescriptionDRAFT CODE OF PRACTICE Welfare
ISBN
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateMarch 28, 2003

Environment and Rural Affairs Department

Pentland House, 47 Robb's Loan, Edinburgh EH14 1TY

Telephone: 0131-244 6482, Fax: 0131-244 6616

Animal.health@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

28 March 2003

To Interested Parties

THE WELFARE OF RED-MEAT ANIMALS AT SLAUGHTER - DRAFT CODE OF PRACTICE

This letter seeks your comments on the enclosed draft document on the welfare of red-meat animals at slaughter. The Code of Practice is intended to provide guidance in the interpretation of The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 and will be made under Part 1, regulation 7 of the regulations.

The Code of Practice is intended to encourage all those who have responsibility for the slaughter and killing of animals, to adopt the highest standards in complying with the welfare regulations. Employers are required to ensure their staff receive guidance on such codes. Attention is drawn to the following provisions under Part 1, regulation 7 (6, 7) of The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995.

(6) A failure on the part of any person to follow any guidance contained in a code issued under this regulation shall not of itself render the person liable to proceedings of any kind.

(7) If, in proceedings against any person for an offence consisting of the contravention of any provision of the Regulations, it is shown that, at any material time, he failed to follow any guidance contained in a code issued under this regulation, being guidance which was relevant to the provision concerned, that failure may be relied upon by the prosecution as tending to establish his guilt.

For reasons of clarity we have included text boxes throughout the code of practice that highlight the relevant legal requirements, alongside the advice.

Please send any comments on this draft to: Lynda Collin, Room 350 Pentland House, 47 Robb's Loan, Edinburgh EH14 1TY. The closing date for comments is Friday 9 May 2003.

Once the consultation process is complete your comments will be taken into account in preparing a final version of the Code of Practice. As with the regulations, the code will then have to be approved in Parliament. This Code of Practice will only apply to Scotland - similar revised codes are also being produced in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

So as to inform the public debate on the issues raised, we would normally make publicly available (at the end of the consultation period) copies of the comments received. I shall assume, therefore that all replies can be made publicly available unless you indicate otherwise. At the end of the consultation period copies of comments will be available to personal callers from the main Scottish Executive Library at Saughton House, K Spur, Broomhouse Drive, Edinburgh EH11 3XD (Tel 0131 244 4552). To enable requests to be dealt with efficiently, it would be appreciated if personal callers could give Library staff at least 24 hours notice of their requirements.

Hard copies of this consultation document are available on request from the adrress above.

Yours sincerely

Ann Sunderland

Animal Health and Welfare Branch


Draft Code of practice (2003)

The welfare of red-meat animals at slaughter

Contents Paragraph numbers

Preface

Introduction 1-4

Supervision and training 5-6

Licensing 7

Unloading animals from vehicles 8-14

Lairages (general) 15

Covered lairages 16-38

Field lairages 39-42

Handling and moving animals (general) 43-49

Passageways and races 50-56

Slaughterhouse waste 57

Restrainers, stunning and stun-kill methods (general) 58-66

Captive bolt stunning 67

Stunning by penetrative captive bolt instrument 68-72

Percussion stunners 73-74

Recommended positions for captive bolt stunning 75

Checking for proper stunning 76

Recognising a proper stun by captive bolt or percussion stunner 77

Electrical stunning and killing 78-86

- Head-only stunning 87-91

- Low-voltage systems 92-96

- Head-to-body stunning and killing 97-98

- Electrical stunning and killing of adult cattle 99

How to recognise a proper stun or stun-kill using electricity 100-101

Stun-killing of pigs by exposure to carbon dioxide gas (CO 2) 102-103

Recognising an effective kill after using carbon dioxide gas 104

Shackling and hoisting 105-106

Sticking procedures 107-110

Religious slaughter 111-115

Free-bullet killing 116

Appendix A - Post pithing ban practices

Appendix B - Useful addresses

Appendix C - Legislation list

Annex A - Further information


Preface

This preface is not part of the Code. Instead, it explains the Code's purpose and background. Similarly, the legislation quoted in boxes throughout the document is not part of the Code, but it highlights the relevant legal requirements. The law, as quoted in these boxes, is that in force on the publication date of the Code. You should bear in mind that any of the legal requirements quoted in this Code might change - you should check with the Animal Welfare Division of the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs department (SEERAD) before assuming that this Code is an accurate and complete statement of the law currently in force (see appendix B for address details).

This Code gives guidance on the humane treatment of red-meat animals (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and horses (including hinnies, asses and mules)) awaiting and during slaughter in slaughterhouses and knackers' yards. This Code also makes recommendations to protect or improve animal-welfare conditions. We will publish separate guidance on the humane treatment of deer and ostriches in the future. If you need advice on welfare at slaughter of any species not listed above, or if you need more information about slaughtering animals outside slaughterhouses, please contact your local Animal Health Office, the Humane Slaughter Association, or the appropriate trade organisations (see appendix B for address details).

The Code adds to the provisions of the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 (WASK) and its amendments (see appendix C for a full list of the legislation that applies). It does not replace them. WASK says that the occupier of a slaughterhouse or knacker's yard must make sure that employees handling animals throughout the slaughter process are familiar with the Code's requirements. This Code applies only to Scotland.

The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 (WASK)

Animal welfare legislation and codes

Regulation 6.-(1) The occupier of a slaughterhouse or knacker's yard shall ensure that any person who is involved in any of the activities governed by these Regulations-

(a) is acquainted with the provisions of the legislation, and of any welfare codes, relevant to the operations that that person carries out;
(b) has access to a copy of any such welfare code at the slaughterhouse or knacker's yard;
(c) has received instruction and guidance on the requirements of such legislation and any such welfare code; and
(d) where, by virtue of paragraph 3 of Schedule 1, any such activity requires a licence, has the appropriate licence.

Where relevant, this Code also refers to the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997, but it does not fully cover the statutory requirements of this piece of legislation.

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It is an offence to cause or allow any avoidable excitement, pain or suffering to any animal during handling, stunning and slaughter. So, it is important that those who are responsible for, or who carry out, these operations are aware of the correct procedures and the effects on animal welfare if these procedures are not followed.

Everyone involved with red-meat slaughterhouses or knackers' yards should be familiar with the relevant regulations, to make sure they obey the law. Copies of the legislation are available from The Stationery Office at www.thestationeryoffice.com (see appendix B for contact details).

WASK

Codes of practice

Regulation 7.-(1) Scottish Ministers may from time to time, after consultation with such organisations as appear to them to represent the interests concerned-

(a) prepare and issue codes of practice for the purpose of providing guidance in respect of these Regulations; and
(b) revise any such code by revoking, varying, amending or adding to the provisions of the code.

(6) A failure on the part of any person to follow any guidance contained in a code issued under this regulation shall not of itself render that person liable to proceedings of any kind.

(7) If, in proceedings against any person for an offence consisting of the contravention of any provision of these Regulations, it is shown that, at any material time, he failed to follow any guidance contained in a code issued under this regulation, being guidance which was relevant to the provision concerned, that failure may be relied upon by the prosecution as tending to establish his guilt.

Please note that the information in this Code's appendices form part of its formal guidance. The Code's annex has more information that you may wish to refer to. However, the information contained in the annex does not form part of this Code's formal guidance.

All tables in this internet version of the Code are included with the kind permission of the Humane Slaughter Association, the Meat and Livestock Commission, Accles & Shelvoke Ltd and Southern Counties Fresh Foods Ltd. Please note that the pictures in this Code do not form part of the Code's formal guidance.

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1.Introduction

1 You can protect animal welfare in slaughterhouses and knackers' yards under a variety of management systems. These systems all work under the same broad principles, aimed at preventing animals experiencing any avoidable excitement, pain or suffering. These principles are explained in the various sections of this Code. The handling, stunning and slaughtering of animals in slaughterhouses and knackers' yards must meet the statutory (legal) requirements of WASK. You should assume that all references to the responsibilities placed on slaughterhouses under these regulations also apply to knackers' yards.

WASK

Humane treatment of animals

Regulation 4.-(1) No person engaged in the movement, lairaging, restraint, stunning, slaughter or killing of animals shall-

(a) cause any avoidable excitement, pain or suffering to any animal; or
(b) permit any animal to sustain any avoidable excitement, pain or suffering.

(2) Without prejudice to paragraph (3) below, no person shall engage in the movement, lairaging, restraint, stunning, slaughter or killing of any animal unless he has the knowledge and skill necessary to perform those tasks humanely and efficiently in accordance with these Regulations.

(3) Schedule 1 shall have effect in relation to the licensing of slaughtermen.

(4) Parts II and III below are without prejudice to the generality of paragraphs (1) and (2) above.

2 A slaughterhouse or knacker's yard must be designed, built and maintained so that no animals held there suffer any injury. Also, you should regularly review the layout and design of your premises, to see if there are any changes you could make to improve animal welfare. Slaughterhouse procedures must not cause or allow the animals any avoidable excitement, pain or suffering before or during the slaughter process. Animals must be killed instantly, or be made instantly insensible and remain so until their death. You must carry out the stunning and slaughter without causing the animal any avoidable excitement, pain or suffering. After stunning, you must carry out sticking immediately.

WASK SCHEDULE 5

STUNNING OR KILLING OF ANIMALS OTHER THAN ANIMALS REARED FOR FUR

PART I

  1. General provision

2. The occupier of a slaughterhouse or knacker's yard and any person engaged in the stunning or killing of any animal shall ensure that any instrument, restraining equipment and other equipment, and any installation, which is used for stunning or killing is used in such a way as to facilitate rapid and effective stunning or killing in accordance with these Regulations.

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3 The slaughterhouse is an unfamiliar environment for the animals, and so it may be stressful for them. Everyone involved in the slaughter process should make sure that everything they do causes the animals as little stress as possible, from their arrival until their death. You should always:

  • treat the animals calmly and humanely (sympathetically);
  • create systems that use the animals' natural behaviour; and
  • use methods or devices that mean you can handle the animals as little as possible.

Remember that excited animals may become difficult or dangerous to handle.

4 Staff attitudes to animal welfare can be affected by poor working conditions. You need to consider how to reduce the physical effort that slaughterhouse staff use to handle the animals. You also need to provide enough space and light, with well-ventilated (airy) but draught-free, dry and hygienic accommodation for the animals. The place where animals are slaughtered must be as close as possible to the lairage (where animals are kept before they are slaughtered), so that they are handled as little as possible. Where you use a field lairage,, you need to consider how to provide appropriate shelter and well-lit accommodation.

Supervision and training

5 Everyone involved in the slaughter process should handle the animals with care and understanding before and during slaughter. You must back this up with skill and efficiency, particularly during stunning and sticking. Everyone should consider:

  • the animals' needs;
  • how they should use the equipment properly; and
  • how the slaughter affects the animals.

Managers at the premises should recognise their own responsibility for welfare (of the animals and employees), and they should choose a staff member to go on a suitable training course and take responsibility for general animal welfare at the premises. Managers also need to recognise that training should be ongoing, and that they should monitor and review it regularly. They should develop a company welfare policy to make employees more aware of animal-welfare issues. Management should also make sure that there are enough appropriate signs around a facility, to remind staff of the need to maintain animal-welfare standards at every stage of the slaughter process (see diagram 1).

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Diagram 1: An example of a slaughterhouse sign

WASK SCHEDULE 1

Operations which require a licence

3. The operations mentioned in paragraph 2 above for which a licence is required are any of the following-

(a) the restraint of any animal for the purpose of stunning, slaughtering or killing that animal;
(b) the stunning of any animal;
(c) the slaughter of any animal;
(d) the killing of any animal;
(e) the pithing of any stunned animal;
(f) the assessment of effective stunning, pithing or killing of any animal by any person whose duty it is to make such an assessment;
(g) the shackling or hoisting of any stunned animal; and
(h) the bleeding of any animal which is not dead.

Grant of provisional licences

7.-(1) An authorised veterinary surgeon shall grant a provisional licence to any applicant who-

(a) is, in the opinion of the authorised veterinary surgeon. a fit and proper person to hold a provisional licence;
(b) is not below the age of 18;

6 Slaughterhouse management should arrange formal training for all staff who handle live animals, up to and including slaughter. Three useful contacts are:

  • the University of Bristol;
  • the Humane Slaughter Association; and
  • the Meat Training Council.

Their addresses are in appendix B.

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Licensing (see note below)

7 An animal must only be stunned, slaughtered or killed in a slaughterhouse or knacker's yard by someone who is aged 18 or over, and who is licensed by the Meat Hygiene Service . The licence will state:

  • which species of animal can be stunned or slaughtered;
  • what type of equipment can be used for the procedure; and
  • what procedures the licence holder can carry out.

Anyone slaughtering animals by the Jewish method must also be licensed by the Rabbinical Commission. Anyone who has not held a licence before, and currently holds a provisional licence, can only stun or stick animals while supervised by a fully licensed slaughterer or veterinary surgeon.

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Unloading animals from vehicles

8 Your slaughterhouse must have facilities that are of a suitable height and design for unloading animals from any size of vehicle directly into a lairage. In many cases, the most suitable arrangement to accommodate varying tail-board heights, and to avoid the animals having to climb down a steep slope, would be an unloading dock. This means that the dock is level with the lorry floor, or slopes up slightly, and the animals can walk through an offset entrance into the lairage area (see diagrams 2 and 3).

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Diagram 2: Unloading dock with side rails

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Diagram 3: Unloading in action

9 Any fixed ramp, adjustable loading bay or other equipment that you use in the unloading area should have a non-slip surface. If you use a stepped ramp, it should be suitable for the animals you are unloading. Animals will often be unsteady on their feet at the end of a journey, and you will need lateral (side) protection - such as solid sides, side rails or gates - on the unloading equipment to prevent animals falling or jumping off the ramp. You will also need to fit battens (metal or wooden bars), or something similar, so that the animals can get a proper foothold. Steep slopes and unstable or slippery unloading equipment may cause them to baulk (stop and refuse to move) or fall, so you should avoid using them.

10 You may have problems when you unload animals from multi-tier vehicles (those that have more than one deck). Where possible, you should fit tail lifts or

hydraulically - operated decks to these vehicles, or use adjustable unloading bays.

11 The unloading area must be designed so that the animals are protected from the weather, and have enough ventilation. To keep delays and stress during unloading to a minimum, you should make sure that there is enough room in the unloading area to handle even the largest load of animals (and the largest size of animals) expected. You should also make sure that natural and artificial lighting in that area is bright enough (but not directed into the animal's eyes) to encourage the animals to leave the vehicle, and allow the unloading to go ahead safely and efficiently. Animals prefer to move from a dark area into a brighter one.

WASK SCHEDULE 2

THE CONSTRUCTION, EQUIPMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF SLAUGHTERHOUSES AND KNACKERS' YARDS

PART I

REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL SLAUGHTERHOUSES AND KNACKERS' YARDS

General requirements for all slaughterhouses and knackers' yards

1. The occupier of a slaughterhouse or knacker's yard shall ensure that-

(a) its construction, facilities, equipment and operation are such as to spare animals any avoidable excitement, pain, injury or suffering;
(b) it has suitable equipment and facilities available for the purpose of unloading animals from means of transport,

PART II

Additional requirements for slaughterhouses or knackers' yards to which animals are delivered other than in containers

2. In addition to requirements of paragraph 1 above, the occupier of a slaughterhouse or knacker's yard to which animals are delivered other than in containers shall ensure that-

(a) any equipment for unloading such animals is of a suitable height and design for that purpose, has non-slip flooring and, if necessary, is provided with lateral protection;

(b) any bridge, ramp and gangway is fitted with sides, railings or some other means of protection to prevent animals falling off them;

12 you must unload animals from vehicles as soon as possible after they arrive. If you cannot unload them (for example, if all the unloading docks are currently in use), you must follow the statutory duties to protect animals in transit from injury or suffering. These duties relate to:

  • protecting the animals from the weather (such as very high or low temperatures); and
  • giving them enough ventilation (air), feed, water and bedding.

This might include providing fans, or keeping the transporter moving to encourage a constant flow of air.

13 You should unload animals carefully from vehicles, calmly and slowly, so that they are not unsettled or excitable when they are later handled for slaughter. Usually, if you give the first two or three animals time to move forward themselves, the others will follow. Operators should make sure that the unloading is done by a competent member of staff in a secure (for example, penned or fenced) area so that if there are any problems during unloading, none of the animals escape.

14 If you find that, when it arrives at the slaughterhouse, an animal is injured or unfit for any reason - and you cannot unload it from the vehicle without causing it pain - it must be humanely killed or slaughtered on the vehicle, using an appropriate emergency method. Under no circumstances should you force such an animal off the vehicle. The phone number of the duty slaughterman must be clearly displayed at the unloading point.

THE WELFARE OF ANIMALS (TRANSPORT) ORDER 1997 (WATO) ARTICLE 7 - PART 1

Treatment of sick animals
7. - (1) Where animals fall ill or are injured during transport, the person in charge of the animals shall ensure that they receive first-aid treatment as soon as possible, that they are given appropriate veterinary treatment and if necessary are slaughtered in a way which does not involve unnecessary suffering

Summary - unloading animals from vehicles

  • Animals should be carefully unloaded from vehicles, in a calm, unhurried manner.
  • Steep slopes, and unstable or slippery unloading equipment, may cause animals to baulk or fall, and so must be avoided.
  • Operators should make sure that the unloading is done by a competent member of staff.
  • If an animal has been injured during transportation, it must be humanely killed or slaughtered on the vehicle, using an appropriate emergency method.
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Lairages (general)

15 Each slaughter premises must have a suitable lairage where animals can rest when they arrive. Animals can be lairaged either in a covered, purpose-built lairage, or in a field. In any case, you must not keep animals in a lairage for more than 72 hours, unless the Official Veterinary Surgeon at the premises gives his or her permission - and then only under exceptional circumstances.

Covered lairages

16 Purpose - built lairages should be designed so that they can be cleaned thoroughly. The walls and floors in slaughter premises should be

hard - wearing, waterproof, and easy to clean and disinfect. You should also make sure that the animals are securely penned (shut in), and cannot escape from the lairage.

17 The lairage should have draught-free ventilation (airflow). A ventilator grille, which is always open, may be enough to extract stale air from the whole lairage. But you will need forced ventilation in some circumstances (for example, during very hot weather). Adjustable,

wall - mounted air inlets, fitted above the animals, can provide a draught-free flow of air. You should also do what you can to control vermin (such as rats and mice).

18 Floors on which the animals have to walk should be non-slip, and ideally have a cross-ridged or diamond pattern (see diagram 4), or have a non-slip coating. If possible, you should use the same non-slip flooring from the lairage through to the stunning box. If you change the flooring, it can make animals baulk or panic; as can grids over drains and gullies.

19 Whichever floor pattern you choose, you must make sure that it cannot injure animals' feet. You must keep the lairage and equipment clean, and in good working order. Every animal you keep in the lairage must have:

  • enough space to stand up, lie down and turn around;
  • shelter from the weather; and
  • plenty of fresh, clean water.

You should make sure that any slatted or mesh floors are clean and well looked after, and that there are no gaps in which animals could catch their feet.

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Diagram 4: Scored floor to prevent animals slipping

WASK SCHEDULE 2

Part II

Additional requirements relating to lairages other than field lairages

3. The occupier of a slaughterhouse or knacker's yard to which animals are delivered other than in containers shall ensure that-

(a) the slaughterhouse or knacker's yard is equipped with a sufficient number of pens for adequate lairaging of the animals with protection from the effects of adverse weather conditions;
(b) any lairage has -
(i) a floor which minimises the risk of slipping and which does not cause injury to any animal which is in contact with it;
(ii) adequate ventilation to ensure that temperature, air relative humidity and ammonia levels are kept within limits that are not harmful to any animal, taking into account the extremes of temperature and humidity which may be expected;
(iii) where such ventilation is provided other than naturally, a replacement means of maintaining adequate ventilation available for use if the original source of ventilation fails;
(iv) adequate lighting (whether fixed or portable) to enable the animals to be thoroughly inspected at any time;
(v) where necessary, suitable equipment for tethering animals; and
(vi) drinking facilities and racks, mangers or other equipment adequate in number and size for the watering and feeding of all animals confined in the lairage, fixed where practicable, and so constructed and placed that they are easily accessible to all the animals, can readily be filled and cannot readily be fouled; and

(c) where the lairage is one in which any horses are confined, the lairage contains at least one loose box which is so constructed as to minimise the danger of any horse injuring itself or any other animal confined in that lairage.

WASK SCHEDULE 3 - PART II

REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL ANIMALS AWAITING SLAUGHTER OR KILLING

General requirements

2. The occupier of a slaughterhouse or knacker's yard and any person engaged in the movement of lairaging of animals shall ensure that-

(a) every animal is unloaded as soon as possible after its arrival and, if delay in unloading is unavoidable, it is protected from adverse weather conditions and is provided with adequate ventilation;
(b) when unloaded, every animal is protected from adverse weather conditions and is provided with adequate ventilation;
(c) if any animal has been subjected to high temperatures in humid weather, it is cooled by appropriate means;
(d) any animals which might injure each other on account of their species, sex, age or origin or for any other reason are kept and lairaged apart from each other;
(e) pending the slaughter or killing of any sick or disabled animal in the slaughterhouse or knacker's yard, it is kept apart from any animal which is not sick or disabled;

Inspection of animals

3. The occupier of a slaughterhouse or knacker's yard shall ensure that the condition and state of health of every animal is inspected at least every morning and evening by him or by a competent person acting on his behalf.

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20 When deciding how many and what type of pens you will have in your lairage, you should take account of the following:

  • how many animals you expect to hold at any one time;
  • the size of the groups of animals to be penned together;
  • the size and species of the animals to be penned together;
  • the materials you will use to build the pens;
  • how well ventilated the lairage is; and
  • the size and shape of the lairage.

21 Pens should be built to hold animals securely. They should be made from materials that do not need much maintenance, and that do not tend to corrode (such as galvanised-steel piping or concrete). The materials you use to build the pens should also be easy to cleanse and disinfect. We would not recommend porous material, like wood, for building pens.

22 For pigs, we recommend rectangular pens with solid walls. Rectangular pens offer more wall space for the pigs to lie against than square pens of the same area. The pen wall should be at least as high as the head of the largest animal to be penned. For cattle, calves and sheep, we recommend square pens made from galvanised-steel piping. As before, the height of the pen should be at least as high as the height of the largest animal's head, but even then some animals may try and escape.

23 Where a lairage has pens with high, solid sides, combined with a low roof and poor ventilation, ammonia can build up. In lairages like this, you should consider providing additional ventilation because the build-up of ammonia will harm both animals and staff who will experience physical distress such as breathing difficulties.

24 If you keep any animals in the lairage overnight, you must make sure that they have enough bedding (such as straw), unless they are on slatted or mesh floors. If possible, all the animals you keep overnight should have a solid, dry lying area so that they can rest more comfortably.

25 If you are involved in lairaging animals, you must make sure that:

  • animals of one species are penned separately from animals of another species;
  • fractious animals (those likely to injure other animals) are slaughtered immediately, and if that is not possible, they are each penned separately;
  • horned cattle are kept apart from each other and from other cattle, unless the horned cattle have been reared together;
  • horse lairages should have at least one loosebox, which is built so as to minimise the danger of any horse injuring itself or any other animal kept in that lairage; and
  • any horse from the following list is kept separately from other horses: a stallion; a cryptorchid (rig)· ; a heavily pregnant female (pregnancy in the third trimester); a female with a foal at foot; or a horse whose hind feet are shod.

26 To prevent fighting, you should pen adult boars and mature bulls individually, unless separating them from the group with which they have been kept, or from females with which they have been kept, is likely to cause greater stress or injury.

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27 Where possible, you should keep animals in their own social or transport group, as mixing animals from different groups may lead to fighting. In particular, we recommend that you do not mix unfamiliar groups of pigs together. We also recommend that bull - beef (bulls which have been raised for slaughter at an earlier age) are sent to be slaughtered as soon as they arrive at a slaughterhouse. Where bull beef have to be penned, you should keep them in their rearing or transport group.

28 You should arrange to milk lactating (milk-producing) cows once every 12 hours, because udders that are too full are likely to cause the cows pain or suffering (see diagram 5).

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Diagram 5: A mobile milking machine

  1. You must not leave fodder (animal feed) in the lairage pens, unless it is in racks, mangers or other suitable feeding equipment. This feeding equipment must be at the right height for all species of animals in that pen to reach easily (see diagrams 6 and 7). You should regularly check that all animals in the lairage have clean water, and that water troughs or drinkers are clean and in working order. You do not need to feed any animal that will be slaughtered within 12 hours.

Pictures removed

Diagram 6: Water trough Diagram 7: Trough inverted for

easy cleaning

30 Lighting in all parts of the lairage should be bright enough so that animals can be inspected at any time. The lighting should not distort natural colours (for example, avoid lighting that is too bright or coloured), and the animals should be able to see without being dazzled. If you are keeping animals overnight, you should be able to switch the lighting on and off, or dim it.

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31 You must immediately slaughter any animal that is in acute pain for any reason. This must be done before any other animals are slaughtered. If it would not cause any avoidable pain or suffering, you can transport the animal on a trolley to a place set aside for emergency slaughter. To help identify animals in acute pain, staff should look out for:

  • increased noise;
  • unwillingness or inability to move or stand up when they are encouraged to do so;
  • difficulty in moving; or
  • any other behaviour that sets an animal apart from the others.

32 You must immediately slaughter any animal that is too young to take solid food. If you cannot move an animal from a lairage without suffering or pain, you must kill or slaughter it in the lairage.

33 Your slaughterhouse should have a procedure for carrying out emergency killing or slaughter at any time, which means that contact details for slaughtermen are available at all times. However, if you cannot contact a licensed slaughterman quickly, any competent person may use an appropriate method of slaughtering or killing an animal in an emergency - as long as the animal does not suffer any avoidable excitement or pain. You should make sure that all your staff are aware of their responsibilities in an emergency. For example, if an animal gets badly injured in a fight with other animals and it is in pain, the animal will have to be immediately killed or slaughtered.

WASK SCHEDULE 3 - Part II

Emergency slaughter and killing

5. The occupier of a slaughterhouse or knacker's yard and any person engaged in the movement or lairaging of any animal shall ensure that any animal which is unable to walk is not dragged to its place of slaughter or killing but-

(a) is slaughtered or killed where it lies; or
(b) if it is possible and to do so would not cause any unnecessary pain or suffering, is transported on a trolley or movable platform to a place of emergency slaughter or killing where it is then immediately slaughtered or killed.

34 You must isolate (separate) any animal showing signs of illness or injury from all other animals until its slaughter, and you need to provide suitable penning for this purpose (see diagram 8). This penning should:

  • have enough pens to cope with the number of animals passing through the slaughterhouse;
  • be close to the unloading point; and
  • where possible, be close to the slaughter area.

35 You should clearly mark isolation pens with a sign or notice, and they should always be fit and ready for use. Each pen should have:

  • a lockable door with an inspection hatch;
  • solid walls that are too high to let the isolated animals come into contact with other stock; and
  • feeding, watering and isolated drainage facilities.

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Diagram 8: An isolation pen

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36 For pigs, we recommend that you have an end wall or gate that you can push forward, on runners, through the normal (not the isolation) pen. This allows the animals to move calmly out of the pen into the approach race (a walkway along which animals are moved) to the stunning area. Gates set in the corner of pens prevent the animals from bunching, and make it easier to drive them out of the pen.

37 If you need to cool pigs down to settle them, it may help if you use sprinklers, which provide a fine spray of water in the lairage. However, in cold weather these sprays may chill the pigs too much. In hot weather, if you use the sprays without enough ventilation, this can increase humidity levels and overheat or even kill the pigs. We recommend that you do not spray pigs

non-stop if the surrounding temperature in the lairage falls below five degrees centigrade (5ºC). If you see any of the animals shivering, you should stop spraying immediately (see annex A for more information on this area).

38 You should have drainage in the lairage (apart from in isolation pens) right outside the pens. There must be grids over open drains, and these should not cause any danger or distraction to the animals. If the premises has slatted floors, you should make sure that the slats are put together so that you can clean, lift and replace them. You should replace wooden slats with slats made from a material that is easier to clean, such as plastic, as soon as possible. When you remove slurry (animal urine and dung) from under slats, you need to take special care not to foul the air with dangerous gases (such as ammonia) that can harm humans and animals. It is important that the building is well ventilated during this process.

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Field lairages

39 If you are using a field as a lairage, you must regularly check the condition of the animals. You must not use a field lairage if its condition (refer to paragraph 42), or the weather, is likely to cause the animals avoidable excitement, pain or suffering.

40 You must provide shelter for the animals in extreme weather conditions (either too hot or too cold). The animals must always have plenty of water, and enough food for when they arrive and twice a day after that. However, you do not need to feed an animal if it will be slaughtered within 12 hours.

41 Where necessary, field lairages should have suitable equipment for tethering animals (tying them to a particular spot). Please note that tethering is not recommended for goats of any age. The lairages should also have enough lighting (either fixed or portable) for the animals to be thoroughly inspected at any time.

42 You must maintain the field lairage in such a condition that it does not put the animals at any risk. You can do this through good grassland management (for example, rotating which paddocks you use to prevent the build-up of disease, and to prevent the ground being trampled on too much or compacted). Also, you should make sure that dung does not build up.

WASK Schedule 2

Part II

Additional requirements for field lairages

4. The occupier of a slaughterhouse or knacker's yard shall ensure that any field lairage -

(a) if it is without natural shelter or shade and is used during adverse weather conditions, has appropriate protection against such conditions for any animal using it;
(b) is maintained in such condition as to ensure that no animal is subjected to any physical, chemical or other health hazard;
(c) where necessary, has suitable equipment for tethering animals;
(d) has adequate lighting (whether fixed or portable) available to enable the animals to be thoroughly inspected at any time; and

(e) is provided with drinking facilities and, if necessary, with racks, mangers or other equipment adequate in number and size for the watering and feeding of all animals confined in the field lairage, fixed where practicable, and so constructed and placed that they are easily accessible to all the animals, can readily be filled and cannot readily be fouled.

Summary - lairages

  • Each slaughter premises must provide a suitable lairage where animals may rest when they arrive.
  • Animals must be securely penned so that they cannot escape from the lairage.
  • Floors over which animals are moved should be non-slip, and preferably finished with a cross-ridged or diamond pattern.
  • Animals should stay in the lairage long enough for them to settle.
  • Any animal which is in acute pain, for any reason, must be killed or slaughtered immediately.
  • An isolation pen should be available and ready for use at all times.

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Handling and moving animals (general)

43 You may have to move animals more than once between them arriving and being slaughtered. To reduce the stress that this may cause the animals, everyone involved should always handle and move animals calmly, and with as little force and noise as possible. The advice and recommendations in this section apply to handling and moving animals anywhere in the slaughter premises.

44 We recommend that you keep animals that were reared together in the same group, and do not mix them with other groups. When moving animals, you should take advantage of the natural instincts of cattle and sheep to follow a herd leader. You should not drive animals from a brightly-lit area (with either natural or artificial lighting) into a darker area, and you should not make them pass any shadows, direct sunlight, or shining or moving objects. If animals do have to cross shadows, staff should be aware of animals' general dislike of shadows. In these circumstances, staff should handle animals with the appropriate level of patience and understanding. Staff who handle animals should only handle the species they are familiar with.

WASK SCHEDULE 3 - PART III

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR ANIMALS DELIVERED OTHER THAN IN CONTAINERS

Instruments to make animals move

11. No person shall use, or cause or permit to be used, to make any animal move any instrument which administers an electric shock, except that such an instrument which has been designed for the purpose of making an animal move may be used on adult bovine animals and adult pigs which refuse to move, provided that-

(a) the shocks last no more than two seconds each and are adequately spaced out;
(b) the animal has room ahead of it in which to move; and
(c) such shocks are applied only to the muscles of the hindquarters.

Treatment of animals

12.-(1) No person shall strike, or apply pressure to, any particularly sensitive part of the body of any animal.

(3) No person shall inflict any blow or kick to any animal.

45 You must never hit, prod or handle animals in a way that might cause them avoidable excitement, pain or suffering. You should never strike an animal on, or put pressure on, any particularly sensitive part of its body (such as the head, the anus, the genitals or the udders), unless it is in an emergency; for example, you are protecting a person or another animal from injury. You should only use sticks or goads (for example, cattle prods) if animals refuse to move even though the way is clear; and you should never use them more often, or with more force, than is necessary. You may only rarely need goads if you improve your facility's design where possible, and by having well-trained animal handlers. Where possible, you should use handling aids for all species which do not need contact with the animals. For example, we recommend guide boards or slappers (hand-held equipment which, when waved, gives a loud slapping sound) for moving pigs. If you use goads, you should maintain them in good condition. Remember, by law you can only use electric goads:

  • on the muscles of the hindquarters (rump) of adult cattle and adult pigs;
  • if an animal is refusing to move forward when the way ahead is clear; and
  • if the shocks last no longer than two seconds each.

46 You must never kick an animal, or twist or break its tail. You must not lift or drag an animal by its head, horns, feet, tail, fleece (wool) or any other part of its body in any way that will cause it avoidable excitement, pain or suffering.

47 You must not lead or drive animals over any ground or floor on which they are likely to slip or fall (for example, where the ground or floor is slippery because of rain or ice). Where necessary, you should use straw, sand, grit or some similar material to stop the animals slipping.

WASK SCHEDULE 3 - PART III

ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR ANIMALS DELIVERED OTHER THAN IN CONTAINERS

  1. The lifting or dragging of animals

7. No person shall lift or drag, or cause or permit to be lifted or dragged, any animal by the head, horns, ears, feet, tail, fleece or any other part of its body in such a way as to cause it unnecessary pain or suffering.

The driving of animals

8. No person shall, in any slaughterhouse, knacker's yard or lairage, lead or drive, or cause or permit to be led or driven, any animal over any ground or floor the nature or condition of which is likely to cause the animal to slip or fall.

48 You should keep noise at the premises to a minimum. For example, do not slam gates. Noises - like those from machinery and metal fittings, or other sudden loud or unfamiliar noises - will often cause animals to baulk or back away. Metal fixtures and equipment are used in many lairages and slaughterhouses because they are waterproof, hardwearing and fairly easy to keep clean. However, they can make a lot of noise, so you should try to reduce this by:

  • using hygienic, non-metallic alternatives; or
  • padding self-closing metal gates, doors and fittings to deaden the sound.

49 Managers at the premises should make an experienced and competent stockman responsible for the way animals are handled in the unloading and lairage areas. This person should also have the authority to make immediate changes to operating procedures in the interests of animal welfare.

Summary - handling and moving animals (general)

  • You should always handle and move animals calmly, and with as little force and noise as possible.
  • When moving animals, you should take advantage of the natural instincts of cattle and sheep to follow a herd leader.
  • You should not drive animals from a brightly-lit area into a darker area, and you should not make them cross any shadows.
  • Where possible, you should use handling aids for all species which do not need contact with the animal.


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Passageways and races

50 When you move an animal out of the lairage to take it for slaughter, you should let it move forward freely, in a calm, unhurried way, keeping the risk of injury and stress to a minimum. The place where animals are slaughtered must be as close as possible to the lairage, so they are handled as little as possible between the pen and the point of slaughter. Lighting in passageways and races should be bright enough, and positioned (for example, above rather than in front) so that it encourages the animals to move forward - bearing in mind that animals prefer to move into a more brightly-lit area.

51 You must make sure that there are no sharp edges, or anything sticking out along passages, on which animals could injure themselves.

52 A curved approach race is better than a straight one because an animal's natural curiosity encourages it to walk around the curve without any persuasion.

53 Races should be designed so that animals cannot escape from them. The approach race to the stunning pen should have solid sides. This is so that each animal can only see the rear of the animal in front of it, and will not be distracted by what is happening outside the race. The race should not be wide enough for animals to turn around, but there should be enough space for a handler to deal with any emergency (see diagram 9).

WASK SCHEDULE 2

THE CONSTRUCTION, EQUIPMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF SLAUGHTERHOUSES AND KNACKERS' YARDS

PART I

REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL SLAUGHTERHOUSES AND KNACKERS' YARDS

General requirements for all slaughterhouses and knackers' yards

1. The occupier of a slaughterhouse or knacker's yard shall ensure that-

(c) there are no sharp edges or protrusions in the slaughterhouse or knacker's yard with which any animal may come into contact

(d) the place of slaughter or killing is sighted in such a way as to minimise handling of the animal at any time up to the point of slaughter or killing;

Picture removed

Diagram 9: Cattle race design

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54 In sheep or pig slaughterhouses, the approach race should be wide enough for two animals to walk side by side for as long as possible as this will help to keep them calm. Where the race becomes narrower, it should be done so that the animals do not bunch together (for example, you could have the sides stepped instead of like a funnel).

55 The slope of an approach race into the stunning area is important. For example, a slightly upward slope encourages animals to move forward, whereas a downward slope will discourage them. So, we recommend that the floor of the approach race should have a slight upward slope towards the stunning area.

56 You should not hold animals unnecessarily in a race or restrainer (a device that holds the animal in place during stunning) if there is a hold-up on the slaughter line, during work breaks, or for other reasons. The race should have an extra gate, or some similar arrangement, immediately before the stunning area, so that you can remove the animals from the race and take them back to the lairage. You may be able to back cattle carefully down the race. However, with sensible planning you should not normally have to do this.

Summary - passageways and races

  • The place where animals are slaughtered must be as close as possible to the lairage.
  • Passageways and races should be well lit, to encourage animals to move forward.
  • Races should be designed and constructed so that animals cannot escape from them.
  • A race designed with a slight upward slope encourages animals to move forward.
  • Animals should not be held unnecessarily in a race or restrainer because of delays developing on the slaughter line.
  • You should design your race so that, if necessary, you can easily remove animals from the race and take them back to the lairage.
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Slaughterhouse waste

57 The slaughter premises must be designed so that blood and waste from the slaughterhall can be removed, as far as possible, so that animals waiting for slaughter cannot see or smell it. You must not dispose of slaughterhall waste in, or allow it to flow into, the lairage.

Restrainers, stunning and stun-kill methods (general)

58 Any method of stunning must cause an animal to lose consciousness immediately, and to remain unconscious until its death. You can stun an animal with a mechanical instrument (such as a captive bolt instrument), or with electricity. It is vital that the animal is properly stunned. If not, the animal could regain consciousness during the slaughter process, or be paralysed but still able to feel pain during the slaughter process.

59 As well as stunning-only methods, you can also use stun-kill methods. A stun-kill method is one where the process results in the death of the animal. You can do this with electricity or, for pigs, with carbon dioxide gas (CO 2).

60 You must not stun adult cattle in a slaughterhouse unless they are confined (kept) in either a stunning pen or a restraining pen (both of which must be in good working order if they are used). This does not apply to animals that must be slaughtered on a vehicle, or in a lairage, because moving them would cause them pain. You must not stun an adult bovine animal (cattle) in a knacker's yard, unless the animal is confined in a stunning pen, or its head is held in such a position that it can be stunned without causing it avoidable excitement, pain or suffering. When captive bolt stunning does not work properly, it is often because the operator does not hold the instrument in the correct position. This is often because the animal moves its head at the last moment, so that the bolt is off target. Cattle stunning pens must be designed to:

  • prevent the animal moving too far forwards, sideways or backwards;
  • limit movement of the animal's head, so that it can be accurately stunned;
  • release the animal's head immediately after it has been stunned; and
  • let the person stunning the animal easily reach its forehead.

61 An animal is more likely to move forward into the pen if it is well lit. We recommend that you attach a pusher to the back gate of the pen, to move the animal forward within the pen to the stunning point. A pusher is an attachment that literally pushes the animal from behind to help position it in the pen. Stunning pens must be designed to avoid injuring or distressing the animal confined in them. You should adjust the length and width of the stunning pen for each animal.

62 For sheep, goats, pigs and calves, you should find that automatic restrainers (like those that hold the animal in a V-shaped conveyor - see diagrams 10 and 11), or extra restraint when these animals are held in a stunning pen, will:

  • make handling the animals easier; and
  • improve stunning accuracy (whether it is done mechanically or electrically).

You should adjust the length and width of the V-shaped conveyor for each animal.

WASK SCHEDULE 5 - PART II

STUNNING OR KILLING OF ANIMALS OTHER THAN ANIMALS REARED FOR FUR

STUNNING

Stunning of animals

3. No person shall stun, or cause or permit to be stunned, any animal unless it is possible to-

(a) bleed or pith it without delay and in accordance with Schedule 6;
b) kill it without delay and in accordance with Part III of this Schedule.

Permitted methods of stunning animals

4. No person shall stun any animal, or cause or permit any animal to be stunned, except by one of the following methods-

(a) captive-bolt;
(b) concussion; or
(c) electronarcosis.

SCHEDULE 4

RESTRAINT OF ANIMALS BEFORE STUNNING, SLAUGHTER OR KILLING

3. Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph 2 above, no person shall-

(a) in any slaughterhouse, stun, or cause or permit to be stunned, any adult bovine animal, unless at the time it is stunned it is confined in a stunning pen or in a restraining pen which (in either case) is in good working order;
(b) in any knacker's yard, stun, or cause or permit to be stunned, any adult bovine animal, unless at the time it is stunned it is either confined in a stunning pen which is in good working order or its head is securely fastened in such a position as to enable it to be stunned without the infliction of avoidable excitement, pain or suffering;

4. No person shall -

(a) place, or cause or permit to be placed, any adult bovine animal in a stunning pen; or

(b) fasten, or cause or permit to be fastened, the head of any adult bovine animal, unless the person who is to stun the animal is ready to do so as soon as the animal is placed in the stunning pen or its head is fastened.

Pictures removed

Diagram 10: V-restrainer race Diagram 11: V-restrainer

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63 You should not leave animals waiting in stunning pens as this can cause them avoidable excitement, pain or suffering. You should be able to easily remove an animal from a pen if there is a hold-up on the line that will delay stunning and sticking. If you are using automatic restrainers, you should be able to easily remove the animal from the restrainer and the approach race.

64 You must not put an animal into a stunning pen unless the person carrying out the stunning is ready to do so immediately. They must not stun an animal unless it can be stuck immediately; and once an animal is stunned, it must be stuck straight away.

65 Whichever stunning method you use, you must always have suitable spare stunning equipment available, and keep it in good working order for immediate use if the first stunning method did not work properly. This back-up stunning equipment should be appropriate for the type of animals being stunned.

66 When animals are stunned in a group stunning pen, they should be handled in groups of a size that will allow stunning and hoisting to take place immediately. Where one person alone is dealing with a number of animals, one animal must be stunned and hoisted before the process can begin on another animal.

Summary - restrainers, stunning and stun-kill methods (general)

  • Stunning must cause the immediate loss of consciousness in an animal, and it must last until the animal's death.
  • Animals must not be left waiting in stunning pens, as this can create avoidable excitement, pain or suffering.
  • An animal must not be placed in a stunning pen unless the person who is to carry out the stunning, and the person bleeding, is ready to do so immediately.
  • Spare stunning equipment must always be available and ready for use.


Captive bolt stunning

67 Captive bolt instruments stun animals by the bolt impacting on (hitting) the skull. They may be powered by blank cartridges or compressed air. It is important that you use the correct strength of cartridge or air pressure for the size of animal and instrument, to make sure that the stun is effective. Successful captive bolt stunning depends on:

  • positioning the instrument correctly (refer to paragraph 75);
  • using the correct calibre and strength of cartridge for the make and model of the captive bolt instrument, as well as for the species and size of the animal;
  • the speed, weight and diameter of the bolt; and
  • the instrument being regularly and carefully maintained.

You should always follow the manufacturer's instructions when you use and maintain the instrument. You should regularly check it to make sure that it is in good working order (see diagram 12 for an example of a captive bolt tester, which measures the acceleration and speed of the captive bolt).

Picture removed

Diagram 12: A captive bolt tester

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Stunning by penetrative captive bolt instrument

  1. Penetrative captive bolt instruments (see diagram 13) stun by the bolt impacting on (hitting) the skull. The bolt fractures the skull and enters the brain, damaging part of it.

Picture removed

Diagram 13: Penetrative, contact-fired captive bolt stunner

69 For instruments which 'fire' on contact, you need to check that the instrument's muzzle is firmly touching the animal's head, and is in the correct position (see paragraph 75). For instruments which are fired by trigger, we recommend that you hold the muzzle of the instrument 10mm away from the animal's head before you shoot. Holding the bolt away from the head will help accelerate the bolt out of the instrument. It will also stop the animal becoming 'spooked' and unsettled by the muzzle touching its head before stunning. It is particularly important to get the position right if the instrument is designed to fire as soon as it touches the head. An instrument with a bolt that is recessed (set back) into the muzzle before it is fired is likely to have a higher bolt speed when it hits the animal than an instrument with the bolt longer than the muzzle. The greater the bolt speed at the point of contact, the greater the amount of energy transferred to the animal's head. The greater the energy transferred (the greater the force with which the bolt hits the animal's skull) and the greater the chance of the animal being properly stunned.

70 If the instrument is not properly maintained, bolt speed can be slower. So, you should strip down and clean the instrument (in line with the manufacturer's instructions) at least at the end of each day's work, even if it has only been used once in that day. You should replace faulty, damaged or worn parts immediately, and regularly give the instrument a complete overhaul.

WASK SCHEDULE 5 - PART II

STUNNING OR KILLING OF ANIMALS OTHER THAN ANIMALS REARED FOR FUR

STUNNING

Specific requirements for stunning by use of a captive-bolt instrument

5.-(1) No person shall use, or cause or permit to be used, a captive-bolt instrument to stun any animal unless-

(a) subject to sub-paragraph (3) below, the instrument is positioned and applied so as to ensure that the projectile enters the cerebral cortex; and
(b) the correct strength of cartridge or other propellant is used, in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, to produce an effective stun.

(2) No person shall shoot, or cause or permit to be shot, any bovine animal in the back of the head.

(3) No person shall shoot, or cause or permit to be shot, any sheep or goat in the back of its head, unless the presence of horns prevents use of the top or the front of its head, in which case it may be shot in the back of the head provided that-

(a) the shot is placed immediately behind the base of the horns and aimed towards the mouth-, and

(b) bleeding is commenced within 15 seconds of shooting or the sheep or goat is killed within 15 seconds of shooting in accordance with Part III of this Schedule.

71 You must not stun cattle at the back of the head. With sheep and goats the position at the front of the head should be used unless you cannot get the correct position because of the animal's horns. The recommended positions for captive bolt stunning are shown in paragraph 75.

72 For older animals, we recommend that you consider other suitable methods (such as electrical stunning or gas stun-killing for pigs), because older animals have thicker skulls and this may prevent them from being properly stunned.

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Percussion stunners

73 Percussion stunners (see diagram 14) produce a massive blow to the skull (but not enough to penetrate it). You can use this instrument instead of the penetrative captive bolt instrument, but we recommend that you only use it on cattle less than 30 months old.

Picture removed

Diagram 14: Non-penetrative, trigger-fired captive bolt stunner

74 We recommend that you should aim percussion stunners

20mm above the recommended position for penetrative captive bolt stunners. We do not recommend percussion stunners for:

  • mature bulls;
  • older cows (cattle more than 30 months old); or
  • pigs (due to the increased levels of kicking).

For older animals, we recommend that you consider other suitable methods (such as electrical stunning), because older animals have thicker skulls and this may prevent them from being properly stunned.

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Recommended positions for captive bolt stunning

75 The positions we recommend for captive bolt stunning are shown in the following diagrams. If the animal is stunned properly, it will collapse immediately, and its body and muscles will be rigid (apart from pigs who can kick violently immediately after stunning). The animal will not try to stand up, and it will have stopped breathing rhythmically. Its eyes will be fixed (in other words, staring straight ahead). If an animal does not show these signs or begins to breathe rhythmically, you should re-stun it immediately, in the recommended position. If you used the recommended stunning position but the animal still does not show these signs, you should re-stun it immediately by aiming the stunner above the original position and slightly to the left or right (see paragraph 77 for other information on restunning animals).

Cattle

Cattle (other than bulls and calves)

  • Penetrative captive bolt - aim at the point where imaginary lines between the eyes and the centre of the base of the opposite horns cross, and place the muzzle at right angles to the front of the animal's head.

Picture removed

Stunning position - penetrative

  • Non-penetrative captive bolt - aim approximately 20mm above the position used for penetrative captive bolt. We do not recommend a non-penetrative captive bolt for mature stock bulls or older cows (cattle more than 30 months old).

Picture removed

Stunning position - non-penetrative

Please note - when you are stunning cattle without horns, instead of running the imaginary lines from the centre of the base of the horns to help position the stunning instrument (see above), run them from the area of the head directly behind the ears.

Bulls

  • Aim at the point halfway between the top of the head and the line between the eyes, and place the muzzle very firmly 10mm to either side of the ridge that runs down the centre of the face, and at right angles to the front of the animal's head.

Calves

  • Aim slightly lower than for adult cattle - as the upper part of the calf's brain is often under-developed - and place the muzzle at right angles to the front of the animal's head.

Pigs

Pigs (other than boars)

  • Place the muzzle about 20mm above the level of the animal's eyes, in the middle of the forehead, aiming towards the tail and at right angles to the front of the animal's head.

Boars

  • Place the muzzle about 50mm above the level of the animal's eyes, on either side of the ridge in the middle of the skull, and at right angles to the front of the animal's head.

Picture removed

Stunning position - pigs

Sheep

Hornless (polled) sheep

  • Use the highest point of the head, and aim straight down.

Horned sheep

  • Place the muzzle just behind the ridge that runs between the horns, and aim towards the base of the tongue.

Picture removed

Stunning position - polled sheep

Picture removed

Stunning position - horned sheep

Goats

You should treat all goats as though they have horns.

  • Place the muzzle just behind the ridge that runs between the horns, and aim towards the base of the tongue.

Kids and lambs

  • Same as for hornless (polled) sheep.

Picture removed

Stunning position - goats

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Checking for proper stunning

76 In the first instance, it is the slaughterman's responsibility to check that each animal he deals with is properly stunned. If, at any time, the slaughterman believes that an animal is not properly stunned, he must take appropriate action (such as re-stunning the animal immediately). The slaughterman must then identify why the stunning failed, and correct the problem before stunning any more animals. We also recommend that a senior member of the slaughterhouse staff, with the necessary experience and training, should:

  • check a number of times each day that animals are being properly stunned, and are unconscious during the slaughter process; and
  • take immediate action to correct the situation if they are not.

These checks are not to replace the regular checks made by Official Veterinary Surgeons of the Meat Hygiene Service. Instead, these checks should become part of the slaughterhouse's normal working practices. The managers should recognise their own responsibility for animal welfare. A senior member of staff should attend a suitable training course and be responsible for general animal welfare at the premises. This training is an ongoing process, and it should be regularly monitored and reviewed by management.

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Recognising a proper stun by captive bolt or percussion stunner

77 If an animal has been stunned properly, it will collapse immediately with its body and muscles rigid (the tonic phase - forelegs extended, neck arched and hind legs flexed into the abdomen (apart from pigs - see paragraph 75)). The animal will not attempt to stand up. Its normal, rhythmic breathing will have stopped, and its eyes will be fixed (in other words, staring straight ahead). If an animal does not show these signs or begins to breathe rhythmically, it should be re-stunned immediately in the recommended position. In order to re-stun an animal that has not been properly stunned in a stunning pen, we recommend that you have a facility that allows you to reach the animal at the base of the pen. If you used the recommended stunning position, but the animal does not show the signs of being stunned, you should re-stun it immediately by aiming the stunner 10mm above the recommended position, and 5mm either side. If you need to make a third attempt, you should aim 10mm above the recommended position and then 5mm to the opposite side you used last time. If you used the wrong position on the first attempt, you should use the correct position to re-stun the animal. Do not use the same position to re-stun an animal as you used on the first attempt. If the first shot is not effective, you should use a back-up captive bolt stunner and a more powerful cartridge. You should clean and maintain the primary captive bolt instrument before you use it again.

Summary - captive bolt stunning

  • Captive bolt instruments stun by the impact (force) with which the bolt hits the skull.
  • Penetrative captive bolt instruments penetrate (enter) the skull, and damage part of the brain. This damage means that the animal is unlikely to recover.
  • Effective stunning by captive bolt mainly depends on the speed and angle of the bolt.
  • If a stun is effective, the animal's normal rhythmic breathing will have stopped, and its eyeball will be fixed.

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Electrical stunning and killing

78 Electrical stunning is the most common method of stunning pigs and sheep, and it is also used for stunning calves and goats. Electricity is also used for stun-killing cattle, sheep and pigs.

79 Electricity is used in the stunning and stun-killing processes in two ways:

  • effectively stunning (known as electronarcosis) an animal by passing an electric current through its brain; or
  • causing immediate unconsciousness, followed by death by cardiac arrest (heart attack) by applying electrodes on the animal's head and back and passing electricity across its brain and heart (known as electrocution).

WASK SCHEDULE 5 - PART II

STUNNING OR KILLING OF ANIMALS OTHER THAN ANIMALS REARED FOR FUR

STUNNING

9. No person shall use, or cause or permit to be used, electrodes to stun any animal individually unless the apparatus-

(a) incorporates a device which-
(i) measures the impedance of the load; and
(ii) prevents operation of the apparatus unless a current can be passed which is sufficient to render an animal of the species being stunned unconscious until it is dead;
b) incorporates an audible or visible device indicating the length of time of its application to an animal; and

(c) is connected to a device indicating the voltage and the current under load, positioned so as to be clearly visible to the operator.

80 Electrical stunning is commonly defined in terms of the voltage used but, although voltage is very important, it is the amount of electric current (measured in amps) passing through the brain that determines whether the animal is stunned. The relationship between the voltage applied, the current delivered and the animal's electrical resistance (how resistant a part of the animal's body is to the flow of electricity) is given in the formula:

Current = Voltage

----------------------

Resistance

The current that passes through the animal will vary directly with the animal's electrical resistance, as long as the voltage is high enough and stays the same. High voltages help to break down the resistance more quickly.

81 The WASK Regulations state that electrical stunning equipment should be fitted with a device to make sure it delivers enough current to properly stun, no matter how high the animal's electrical resistance, and to shut off the equipment if not enough current can flow. However, recent research shows that it is unlikely that such a device can be developed currently.

82 To stun an animal properly, you must make sure that:

  • the voltage is high enough;
  • the equipment is in good working order;
  • the electrodes are clean and correctly positioned; and
  • you apply the correct current to make sure that the animal is unconscious during the slaughter process.

Unless you meet all these conditions, the animal will not be properly stunned (see diagram 15 for examples of stunning electrodes in different states of repair).

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Diagram 15: Stunning electrodes in different states of repair - faultless (left) and damaged or worn down due to use (right)

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83 You should regularly check electrical stunning equipment (including any control panel) to make sure that it is in good working order and delivering the set amount of current. You must repair any faults in the stunning equipment immediately. Also, keep the spare equipment available and in good working order, in case your usual equipment fails to stun the animals properly.

84 Electrical stunning equipment must have a device that the operator can hear or see, so that they know how long they have been stunning a particular animal. The operator needs to check this device regularly to make sure that the stunning equipment is working properly. The operator should also be able to see clearly (on some kind of indicator) how much current the stunner is delivering to each animal.

85 You must only use electrical stunning equipment for stunning - or stunning and then killing (as in

stun-kill methods) an animal. You must not use it to goad, catch or paralyse animals so that they can be hoisted and stuck without being properly stunned.

86 You must make sure that an animal does not get an electric shock from the electrodes before they have been applied.

WASK SCHEDULE 4

RESTRAINT OF ANIMALS BEFORE STUNNING, SLAUGHTER OR KILLING

STUNNING

8. No person shall use, or cause or permit to be used, any electrical stunning or killing equipment or any other instrument which applies an electric current to animals-

(a) as a means of restraining any animal;
(b) as a means of immobilising any animal; or
(c) except in accordance with paragraph 11 of Schedule 3, as a means of making any animal move.

Head-only stunning

87 At present, there are two basic types of head-only stunning tongs: fork tongs or scissors tongs (see diagrams 16 and 17). Research is currently being done into electrode design and applied voltages. Where you position the electrodes is vital. You should place them firmly between the eye and ear on each side of the animal's head, so that the brain is directly between the two electrodes (see diagram 18). The operator needs to apply the electrodes firmly, so that they do not slip off the animal's head at any time. If you cannot apply the electrodes in the correct position (for example, on the head of horned sheep or goats), you should use a captive bolt instrument instead.

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Diagram 16: Fork tongs Diagram 17: Scissors tongs

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88 You should not apply electrodes behind the ears, or on each side of the neck, because this could paralyse the animal without causing unconsciousness, and the animal could suffer severe pain.

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Diagram 18: Head-only stunning of sheep

Please note, however, that because of the shape of a pig's head, you may find it difficult to use the recommended stunning position. Instead, you could put the tongs just below the pig's ears, or diagonally below one ear and above the opposite eye (see diagram 19).

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Diagram 19: Electrode positions for pigs

89 You should make sure that you apply the electrodes correctly first time, so that you do not need to stun the animal a second time.

90 You need to be careful when stunning sheep and goats, because wool acts as an insulator - which means that it blocks the flow of current through the brain. To avoid this problem when you stun long-wool breeds, you should use electrodes that are designed to penetrate the wool and make contact with the skin. We recommend electrodes that have two parallel rows of sharp teeth, or multipoint electrodes. It is important to regularly clean electrodes to maintain good contact.

91 The minimum currents shown (see table 1) are those we recommend for head-only stunning, using high-voltage equipment (this means over 250 volts). You should set the equipment to deliver no less than these currents, in line with the manufacturer's instructions. You need to apply the electrodes firmly to the animal's head for at least three seconds. If you use the electrodes correctly, these currents will produce unconsciousness that will last for the whole shackling and bleeding process - as long as this is done immediately (see table 2 for a description of the indicators for each stage seen with electrically stunned animals, and see table 3 for details of how long each stage should last following head-only electrical stunning). If you use lower currents than those we recommend in table 1, the animal will probably not be stunned properly. See diagram 20 for a head-only stunning check list.

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Table 1 - Head-only stunning

Species

Minimum recommended current (amps)

Cattle

1.2

Calves

1.0

Sheep or goats

1.0

Pigs

1.3

Lambs or kids

0.6

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Table 2 - Phases seen with electrical stunning of animals

Phases

Physical symptoms of an epileptic fit

Tonic

Animal collapses and becomes rigid

No rhythmic breathing

Head raised

Forelegs extended, and hind legs flexed into the body

Clonic

Muscles gradually relax

Paddling or involuntary kicking (can be severe at times)

Eyeballs roll in their sockets

Bowel or bladder movements (or both)

Excessive salivation

Recovery

Normal rhythmic breathing starts again

Response to painful stimuli

Becomes visually aware

Attempts to stand

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Table 3 - Expected duration of each phase following head-only electrical stunning

Species

Tonic

Clonic

Recovery

Pigs

Sheep

10-20 secs

15-45 secs

30-60 secs

Goats

Cattle

5-20 secs

10-60 secs

45-90 secs

Calves

8-14 secs

8-28 secs

40-70 secs

(Please note that these times relate to the recommended minimum application of stunning currents.)

inspect and test equipment regularly

keep a back-up captive bolt to hand

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1.3 amps

1.0 amp

STUN TIME NOT LESS THAN 3 SECONDS

PHASE

DURATION

VISIBLE SIGNS

ACTION

TONIC

10 to 20secs

  • animal is rigid
  • no rhythmic breathing
  • head raised
  • hind legs flexed into body

  • stick during this phase if possible

CLONIC

15 to 45secs

  • involuntary kicking or paddling
  • relaxation

  • stick immediately

RECOVERY

30 to 60secs

  • resumes normal rhythmic breathing
  • responds to painful stimuli
  • becomes visually aware
  • attempts to stand

  • stun with captive bolt, and stick immediately

Diagram 20: Electrical stunning checklist (head-only stunning) for sheep and pigs

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Low-voltage systems

92 Recent research, carried out for Defra on pigs, has shown that an animal's resistance to current flow depends on the voltage used. The work has shown that at 250 volts or above, the speed and effectiveness of the stun is much improved.

93 In light of these important findings, we now recommend that all stunning should be carried out with at least 250 volts. This will make sure that the animal does not suffer.

94 The Humane Slaughter Association and the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC), which advises the Government on farmed animal-welfare issues, do not recommend using low-voltage systems. We therefore recommend that low-voltage stunning (voltages below 250 volts) is phased out as soon as possible.

95 In the meantime, if you use low-voltage systems you should apply the tongs across the brain for at least 7 seconds, to stun the animal properly. The tongs must be regularly maintained, and the electrodes must be kept clean. This will improve electrical contact with the animal.

96 Please note that, in general, high-voltage stunning has the same effect on animals as low-voltage stunning. In fact, the animal is unconscious for a similar length of time. The advantages of high-voltage stunning are:

  • a better chance of immediate induction (flow of current); and
  • it is more animal-welfare friendly, as it is more likely to stun the animal first time than with a low-voltage system.

Disadvantages of high-voltage stunning include:

  • the animal sometimes kicking after being stunned (clonic activity).
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Head-to-body stunning and killing

97 Proper head-to-body stunning and killing means applying electrical currents to the animal's head first and then its back (over its heart) simultaneously. This causes immediate unconsciousness, followed by cardiac arrest (a heart attack). Both sets of electrodes must be firmly applied as this gives good electrical contact. You must make sure that the front electrodes are in the correct position so that the current flows through the brain, and the animal does not suffer a painful cardiac arrest before unconsciousness. In head-to-body stunning and killing, one set of electrodes is placed on the forehead, and the other set is placed behind the position of the heart, about where the last two ribs are (see diagrams 21 and 22).

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Diagram 21: Head-to-body stunning in action

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Diagram 22: Head-to-body stunning equipment for sheep

98 You can use head-to-body and head-to-brisket electrode positions to stun and kill the animal with a cardiac arrest. (Brisket is the breast of four-legged animals.) You need to wet the electrodes, and the areas on the animal's body where you will attach them, to get good electrical contact (particularly in sheep and goats). The electrodes need to be positioned for at least three seconds (while the current is flowing), and we recommend the following minimum levels of current (see table 4). Wetting the electrodes may cause arcing of electricity. You should avoid this.

Table 4 - Head-to-body stunning and killing

Species

Minimum recommended current (amps)

Cattle

1.5

Calves

1.0

Sheep or goats

1.0

Pigs

1.3

Lambs or kids

0.6

High-voltage stunning (especially head-to-body) can cause injury (for example, to the animal's shoulders and back) due to sudden muscular contractions caused by high-voltage stimulation. In some cases, you can reduce this risk of injury by lifting the animals off the floor. For example, by pulling the animal up off its legs by the attached tongs while the animal is being stunned, or by placing the animal in a V-restrainer before stunning.

Electrical stunning and killing of adult cattle

99 During electrical stunning and killing, adult cattle must be confined in a stunning pen. Electrical stunning and killing of adult cattle is brought about by firstly passing a minimum current of 1.15 amps for 3 seconds through the head, using nose-to-neck electrodes, followed immediately by a current of 1.51 amps which is passed for 12 seconds through the neck and brisket electrodes to cause cardiac arrest and death (see diagram 23). A final cycle (not included in the diagram) causes spinal depolarisation in the animal - this means that the animal loses its ability to make any reflex actions, making it more manageable in the next stage of the process. It is essential that, during use, the electrodes are regularly inspected and kept clean to make sure that they work efficiently.

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Diagram 23: Head-to-body stun-kill cattle equipment

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How to recognise a proper stun or stun-kill using electricity

100 You will recognise a proper head-only electrical stun because the animal will demonstrate the first stage of an epileptic fit. While the electrodes stay in contact with the animal:

  • its whole body will become rigid;
  • it will stop breathing rhythmically;
  • its eyes will become fixed (staring straight ahead);
  • its head will become raised; and
  • its hind (back) legs will be flexed into its body.

The animal's forelegs (front legs) may also be bent at first, but they usually straighten out, which is a sign of the tonic stage (see table 2). This stage will last up to 20 seconds or so. After that, the animal's reflexes, such as kicking (in the clonic stage), will begin and following the clonic stage, the animal will start to breathe normally again (in the recovery stage). This is why it is particularly important that an animal stunned by the head-only method should be shackled and bled quickly.

The early signs that you see with animals that have had proper head-to-body stun-kill with cardiac arrest are similar to those you see with a proper head-only stun. The only difference is that with the stun-kill method, the animals may not show a clonic phase and they will not show any signs of recovery, such as starting to breathe normally again. If you do see any signs of recovery, you should re-stun the animal immediately with a captive bolt (which you should keep on hand for such occasions), and it should be stuck and bled straight away. See table 2 for a description of each stage involved in electrically stunning animals

101 If an animal does not seem to have been properly stunned, you should not leave it; instead, you should re-stun it immediately using a captive bolt stunner.

Summary - electrical stunning and killing

To make sure that the animal is effectively stunned, it is essential that:

  • the equipment is in proper working order;
  • the electrodes are positioned correctly and firmly;
  • the electrodes are clean and well maintained; and
  • the correct current is applied.

You can recognise an effective electrical stun by the following signs:

  • the animal's whole body will become rigid; and
  • rhythmic breathing will stop and will not resume before the animal is bled to death.

Stun-killing of pigs by exposure to carbon dioxide gas (CO 2)

102 Pigs can be killed by exposing them to one of several gas mixtures. WASK-permitted mixtures are given in Schedule 7 of the Regulations. This system is becoming more commonly used in the slaughter industry. Please note that the longer the pigs breathe in these permitted gas mixtures, the more of them will be killed.

103 The chamber you use must have both audible and visible warning signs if the CO 2 gas inside falls below the correct concentration. If this happens, or if there is any other problem with the chamber, you must stun any pigs still alive with either a mechanically-operated instrument (such as a percussion or a penetrative captive bolt stunner) or with electricity.

Recognising an effective kill after using carbon dioxide gas

104 When it leaves the chamber, each pig will be lying down and its body - including its legs and jaw - will be generally relaxed. The pig will not try to move or stand up, and it will not react to a pinprick on the nose. It will also not be breathing.

Shackling and hoisting

105 You must not shackle or hoist an animal unless it has been properly stunned or killed. Shackling an animal means attaching a metal chain to its leg. Hoisting means lifting the animal up (by the shackle), usually on a mechanical hoist, so that it hangs upside down. If one person is:

  • stunning (apart from those operators using the CO 2 gas stun-kill method), shackling, hoisting and sticking a batch of animals single-handed; or
  • carrying out more than one of these operations;

they must complete each stage for one animal before moving on to the next animal. This should make sure that animals are stuck as soon as possible after being stunned, so that they do not regain consciousness. (See paragraphs 107-110 for details about sticking procedures.)

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WASK SCHEDULE 7 - PART II

THE KILLING OF PIGS BY EXPOSURE TO CARBON DIOXIDE

3.-(1) Subject to paragraphs 4 to 6 below, pigs may be killed at a slaughterhouse by exposure to carbon dioxide gas mixture in a chamber provided for the purpose (hereinafter referred to as "a chamber").

Construction of the chamber

4. The occupier of a slaughterhouse at which a chamber is used shall ensure that -

(a) the chamber and the equipment used for conveying any pig through the gas mixture are designed, constructed and maintained-
(i) so as to avoid injury to any pig;
(ii) so as to avoid compression of the chest of any pig;
(iii) so as to enable each pig to remain upright until it loses consciousness;
(iv) so as to enable the pigs to see each other as they are conveyed in the chamber; and
(v) so that once a pig enters the chamber, it is conveyed to the point in the chamber of maximum concentration of the gas mixture within a maximum period of 30 seconds;
(b) there is a means of visually monitoring pigs which are in the chamber;
(c) adequate lighting is provided in the conveying mechanism and the chamber to allow pigs to see other pigs or their surroundings;
(d) the installation has an apparatus which maintains the required concentration by volume of carbon dioxide in the gas mixture in the chamber;
(e) the chamber is fitted with devices which-
(i) measure the concentration by volume of carbon dioxide in the gas mixture at the point of maximum exposure;
(ii) when the chamber is in operation, continuously display the concentration by volume of carbon dioxide as a percentage of the gas mixture at the point of maximum concentration in the chamber; and
(iii) give clearly visible and audible warning signals if the concentration by volume of carbon dioxide falls below 70%;
(f) there is a means of flushing the chamber with atmospheric air with the minimum of delay; and
(g) there is a means of access to any pig with the minimum of delay.

The operation of the chamber

5. The occupier of a slaughterhouse at which a chamber is used shall ensure that-

(a) each pig is exposed to the gas mixture for long enough to ensure that it is killed;
(b) any such chamber is properly maintained; and
(c) every person engaged in the killing is properly instructed as to-
(i) the method of operation of the chamber;
(ii) the procedures for any necessary flushing of the chamber with atmospheric air; and
(iii) the procedures for any necessary evacuation of pigs from the chamber.

6. The occupier of a slaughterhouse at which a chamber is used and any person engaged in the killing of pigs by exposure to carbon dioxide shall ensure that-

(a) no pig enters the chamber if the displayed concentration by volume of carbon dioxide in the gas mixture falls below 70%; and

(b) no pig is passed through or allowed to remain in the chamber at any time when the visible and audible warning signals provided for in paragraph 4(e)(iii) above have been activated or when there is any defect in the operation of the chamber.

106 You must not drag any animals that have been stunned or killed over any other animals, or leave them where they could be trampled on by other animals.

  1. SCHEDULE 3 - PART I

REQUIREMENTS FOR ANIMALS AWAITING SLAUGHTER OR KILLING

  1. General requirements

2. The occupier of a slaughterhouse or knacker's yard and any person engaged in the movement of lairaging of animals shall ensure that-

(f) no person drags any animal which has been stunned or killed over any other animal which has not been stunned or killed.

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Sticking procedures

107 Sticking is when an animal's major blood vessels are quickly severed (cut through) while the animal is stunned and unconscious (so it cannot feel pain). These blood vessels must be severed quickly and accurately, so that the animal dies from rapid blood loss to the brain. The knives you use should be clean and sharp, and the cut should sever all major blood vessels so that blood loss (and death) is quick. If you work on the slaughter line, you need to be able to recognise when an animal is coming round from the stun. If an animal is coming round from the stun, you need to stun it again immediately (a captive bolt instrument needs to be available for this purpose).

  1. You must not use any electrical stimulation (to reduce the likelihood of kicking after stunning), or any further dressing procedure (for example, removing the animal's hide), on an animal until the bleeding has stopped, and certainly not less than:
  • 20 seconds after sticking sheep, deer, goats and pigs; and
  • 30 seconds after sticking cattle and calves.

109 You must not stick a horse in a slaughterhouse, knacker's yard or lairage where it can be seen by any other horse which is also waiting for slaughter. This applies unless you have to do so in an emergency, on a vehicle or in a lairage, because you cannot move the animal without causing it pain.

110 We recommend the following sticking methods.

For cattle, calves and horses: you should make an incision (cut) with a sharp knife in the jugular crease at the base of the animal's neck (see diagram 24). You should point the knife towards the chest so that you sever the major blood vessels coming from the heart (known as the anterior aorta and anterior vena cava). For hygiene reasons, you should use two knives: the first to cut open the skin, and the second to sever the blood vessels.

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Diagram 24: Sticking cattle, calves and horses

For sheep and goats: you can carry out the sticking procedure in a similar way as for cattle (as shown in diagram 25 at point 1), or you can make an incision with a sharp knife (the blade must be at least 120mm long), close to the head, severing at least one - but ideally both - of the carotid arteries (which come from the heart) and both jugular veins. You can only do this by cutting across the throat at point 2 on diagram 25. For hygiene reasons, you should do this with a stab incision through the side of the neck, and then cut outwards.

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Diagram 25: Sticking sheep and goats

WASK SCHEDULE 6

BLEEDING OR PITHING OF ANIMALS

3.-(1) Subject to sub-paragraph (3) below, any person engaged in the bleeding of any animal that has been stunned shall ensure that-

(a) the bleeding is rapid, profuse and complete;
(b) the bleeding is completed before the animal regains consciousness; and
(c) the bleeding is carried out by severing at least one of the carotid arteries or the vessels from which they arise.

(2) Subject to sub-paragraph (3) below, after severance of at least one of the carotid arteries or the vessels from which they arise of any animal that has been stunned before bleeding, no person shall cause or permit any further dressing procedure or any electrical stimulation to be performed on the animal before the bleeding has ended and in any event not before the expiry of-

(c) in the case of bovine animals, a period of not less than 30 seconds; and
(d) in the case of sheep, goats, pigs and deer, a period of not less than 20 seconds.

(3) Sub-paragraphs (1) and (2) above shall not apply to any animal which has been pithed.

4.-(1) Where one person is responsible for the stunning and pithing, or for the stunning, shackling, hoisting and bleeding, of animals other than birds or rabbits, or for some of those operations, such operations must be carried out by him consecutively in respect of one animal before being so carried out by him in respect of another animal.

  1. WASK SCHEDULE 8

ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS FOR THE SLAUGHTER OR KILLING OF HORSES IN SLAUGHTERHOUSES AND KNACKERS' YARDS

1. Subject to paragraph 3 below, no person shall slaughter or kill, or cause or permit to be slaughtered or killed, any horse in a slaughterhouse or knacker's yard except in a room or a bay which has been provided for the slaughter or killing of horses by the occupier of the slaughterhouse or knacker's yard in accordance with paragraph 2(e) of Schedule 2 (which relates to additional provisions for horses).

2. Subject to paragraph 3 below, no person shall slaughter or kill, or cause or permit to be slaughtered or killed, any horse in a slaughterhouse or knacker's yard -

(a) in a room or bay in which there are the remains of a horse or other animal; or
(b) within sight of any other horse.

3. Paragraphs l and 2 above shall not apply in the case of a horse slaughtered or killed in accordance with paragraph 5 of Schedule 3 (which relates to emergency slaughter and killing).

For pigs: Hold a sharp knife (with a blade at least 120mm long) in the middle of the animal's neck, where there is a hollow in front of the breastbone (see diagram 26). You should lift the skin with the tip of the knife, using a gentle lifting movement. When you have cut through the skin, you should lower the knife handle so that the blade is nearly vertical (straight up), and push the blade upwards to sever the major blood vessels (the anterior aorta and anterior vena cava). The wound should be large enough to allow effective (heavy) bleeding, while minimising contamination when the carcass enters the scald tank.

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Diagram 26: Sticking pigs

Summary - sticking procedures

  • Effective sticking of the animal as soon as possible after stunning is essential.
  • Knives should be clean and sharp, and the cut should sever all major blood vessels to make sure there is rapid blood loss.
  • Electrical stimulation, or any further dressing procedure, must not be carried out on an animal until bleeding has ended, and until the necessary time periods have elapsed.

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Religious slaughter

111 If you are slaughtering cattle using a religious method (such as the Jewish or Islamic method of slaughter without stunning first), you must restrain the animal upright in a pen which has been approved by Defra. Religious slaughter for any sheep, goat or bovine animal can only take place in a licensed slaughterhouse.

112 To avoid causing cattle avoidable excitement, pain or suffering, you must not put them in a restraining pen until the person carrying out the slaughter is ready to make the cut immediately. For other species, and calves, you should only put one animal at a time on the slaughter table or cradle.

113 The cut you make during religious slaughter must sever both carotid arteries and both jugular veins. This does not mean that you cannot sever the oesophagus (gullet) or trachea (windpipe). You must do so with the quick, uninterrupted movements of a sharp knife. You must inspect the knife before you slaughter each animal, to make sure the blade is not damaged, and that it is both large enough and sharp enough for the job.

114 After making the cut, you must not move any animals or give them any electrical stimulation for:

  • at least 20 seconds for sheep and goats; and
  • at least 30 seconds for cattle;

and not until the animal is unconscious, whatever the species .

115 You need to keep a captive bolt instrument in good working order and ready to use:

  • if a cut is not as accurate as described in paragraph 113, and the animal is suffering pain or distress as a result; or
  • for any other emergency.

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  1. WASK SCHEDULE 12 - PART I

Slaughter by a religious method

2. In this Schedule references to slaughter by a religious method are references to slaughter without the infliction of unnecessary suffering-

(a) by the Jewish method for the food of Jews by a Jew who holds a licence in accordance with Schedule 1 (which relates to the licensing of slaughtermen) and who is duly licensed -
(i) in England and Wales by the Rabbinical Commission referred to in Part IV of this Schedule; or
(ii) in Scotland by the Chief Rabbi; or
(b) by the Muslim method for the food of Muslims by a Muslim who holds a licence in accordance with Schedule 1.

PART II

PROVISIONS RELATING TO THE SLAUGHTER OF ANIMALS BY A RELIGIOUS METHOD

Slaughter of bovine animals by a religious method

3.-(1) Subject to sub-paragraph (3) below, no person shall slaughter, or cause or permit to be slaughtered, any bovine animal in a slaughterhouse by a religious method unless the animal is in an upright position in a restraining pen which has been approved by the Minister and which the Minister is satisfied has been installed in such a manner as to ensure that it will operate efficiently.

Handling of animals during slaughter

5. The occupier of a slaughterhouse where animals are slaughtered by a religious method and any person engaged in the slaughter of any animal by a religious method shall ensure that-

(a) no bovine animal is placed in a restraining pen unless the person who is to carry out the slaughter is ready to make the incision immediately the bovine animal is placed in the pen;
b) no animal is shackled or hoisted until the appropriate period referred to in paragraph 7 below has elapsed and unless the animal is unconscious;
(c) any sheep or goat, or any calf which is small enough to be restrained manually on a cradle or table, is slaughtered only on a cradle or table and that only one such animal is placed on the cradle or table at any one time; and
(d) where the slaughter is carried out in a slaughterhouse, a captive-bolt instrument is kept close to the restraining pen, cradle or table for use in case of emergency and is immediately used where the animal is subjected to any avoidable pain, suffering or agitation or has any injuries or contusions.

Method of slaughter

6. Any person who slaughters by a religious method any animal which has not been stunned before bleeding shall-

(a) before each animal is slaughtered, inspect the knife to be used and ensure that it is not used unless it is undamaged and of sufficient size and sharpness to be capable of being used to slaughter the animal in the manner described in sub-paragraph (b) below; and
(b) ensure that each animal is slaughtered by the severance, by rapid, uninterrupted movements of a knife, of both its carotid arteries and both its jugular veins.

Handling animals after slaughter by a religious method

7. The occupier of a slaughterhouse in which animals are slaughtered by a religious method and any person engaged in the slaughter by a religious method of any animal shall ensure that where the animal has not been stunned, or stunned and pithed, before bleeding it is not moved until it is unconscious and in any event not before the expiry of-

(a) in the case of any sheep or any goat, a period of not less than 20 seconds; and
(b) in the case of any bovine animal, a period of not less than 30 seconds,

after it has been slaughtered in the manner described in paragraph 6 above.

Summary - religious slaughter

  • Cattle must not be placed in an approved upright restraining pen until your member of staff is ready to slaughter the animal.
  • For other species, only one animal at a time may be placed on the slaughter table or cradle.
  • The cut made during slaughter by a religious method must sever both carotid arteries and both jugular veins.
  • A captive bolt instrument in good working order must always be available for use, in case a cut is not made efficiently.

Free-bullet killing

116 In slaughterhouses, this method is generally used only on horses, large boars, large sows and large bulls. We do not recommend it for other animals. Correct positioning of the weapon is vital. You should take safety precautions to protect the person firing the weapon, and everyone else in the slaughterhouse or knacker's yard, before you use this method.

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Appendix A

Post-pithing ban practices

Pithing is when an animal is killed by destroying its brain stem and other parts of its central nervous system. This is done by pushing a rod through the hole created by a penetrative captive bolt instrument, through the brain and into the top of the spinal column. However, from 1 January 2001 the European Commission Decision 2000/418/EC banned the pithing of any bovines (cattle), ovines (sheep) and caprines (goats) entering the human or animal food chain. To give slaughterhouses time to adapt their premises and procedures, the UK did not introduce the ban until 1 July 2001. The European Union has changed the law in this way as part of various measures to prevent the possible spread of BSE (commonly known as 'mad-cow disease'). This is because traces of brain material were found in the blood of pithed cattle, and BSE affects the brain in both humans and animals.

Following this ban, animal brain stems are left intact. This means that there is a risk that some animals may start to breathe again after stunning. To reduce this risk, operators must leave as little time as possible between stunning and sticking, or use a stun-kill method. Managers at the premises also need to consider the risk to the health and safety of their workers.

This ban on pithing does not apply to the slaughter of cattle involved in the 'Over-30-months scheme' (OTMS), to pigs or to any animal that will not be entering either the human or animal food chain. You can still use the hides (for example, leather) produced from the carcasses of OTMS animals.

There are a number of things that the slaughter industry can do to improve animal and staff welfare, and these include:

  • making sure that the stunning is accurate;
  • making sure that captive bolt equipment and cartridges are powerful enough;
  • making sure that captive bolt equipment is checked every day;
  • making sure that slaughterhouse staff always wear the proper protective clothing;
  • sticking animals immediately before they are shackled;
  • using a side stick, rather than a neck stick, for cattle;
  • using electrical stimulation to reduce the likelihood of kicking after stunning (please note that for cattle, this can only take place 30 seconds after an animal has been stuck); and
  • changing the layout or structure of the shackling and bleeding area, in the longer term (for example, installing a dry-landing grid on which animals can be bled, and raising stunning boxes so that it is easier to roll out the animals after stunning (see diagrams below)).

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Appendix B

Useful addresses

Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department

Branch 1, Animal Health & Welfare Division, Pentland House, 47 Robb's Loan, Edinburgh EH14 1TY

Phone: 0131 244 6482

Email: animal.health@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

The Humane Slaughter Association (HSA)

The Old School, Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Herts AL4 8AN

Phone: 01582 831919

Meat Hygiene Service (MHS)

Foss House, Kings Pool, 1-2 Peasholme Green, York YO1 7PX

Phone: 01904 455501

Food Standards Agency (FSA) Scotland

6th Floor St. Magnus House, 25 Guild Street, Aberdeen AB11 6NJ

Phone: 01224 285127

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

Belford House, 59 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3UE

Phone: 0131 247 2000

Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC)

PO Box 44, Winterhill House, Snowdon Drive, Milton Keynes MK6 1AX

Phone: 01908 677577

University of Bristol (Division of Food Animal Science)

Churchill Building, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU

Phone: 0117 928 9227

Meat Training Council

PO Box 141, Winterhill House, Snowdon Drive, Milton Keynes MK6 1YY

Phone: 01908 231062

The Stationery Office (HMSO)
St Clements House
2-16 Colegate
Norwich
NR3 1BQ

Phone: 01603 723011

Regional Divisional Veterinary Managers (DVMs) Offices

Regional Veterinary Meat Hygiene Advisers

[Appropriate addresses to be added at a later date.]

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Appendix C

Legislation list

  • The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995

Statutory Instrument 1995 number 731

  • The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) (Amendment) Regulations 1999

Statutory Instrument 1999 number 400

  • The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997

Statutory Instrument 1997 number 1480

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Annex A

Further information

  • Wotton, S. Sticking techniques and exsanguination in pigs, sheep and calves.Meat Focus, July 1996.
  • Daly, C.C., Kallweit, F., et al. Cortical function in cattle during slaughter: Conventional captive bolt stunning followed by exsanguination compared with shechita slaughter. The Veterinary Record, 2 April 1998.
  • Humane Slaughter Association Guidance Notes 2, 3 and 4. Copies available from the Humane Slaughter Association (see appendix B for address details).
  • Humane Slaughter Association & the Meat and Livestock Commission leaflet " Handling Cattle at Abattoirs and Markets". Copies available from the Humane Slaughter Association (see appendix B for address details).
  • Humane Slaughter Association & the Meat and Livestock Commission leaflet " Improved Handling Systems for Pigs at Slaughter". Copies available from the Humane Slaughter Association (see appendix B for address details).
  • Humane Slaughter Association leaflet " The Future without Pithing". Copies available from the Humane Slaughter Association (see appendix B for address details).
  • Knowles, T.G., Brown, S.N., et al. Ambient temperature below which pigs should not be continuously showered in lairage. The Veterinary Record, 21 November 1998.
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) booklet " Guidance on The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997". Copies available from the Animal Welfare Division of Defra (see appendix B for address details).

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