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Back to Farmed Animal Welfare: Slaughter

The welfare of red meat animals at slaughter

STUNNING AND STICKING

A
POCKET
GUIDE

MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

WELSH OFFICE AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT

SCOTTISH OFFICE AGRICULTURE, ENVIRONMENT AND FISHERIES DEPARTMENT

This guide highlights some of the more important points to observe in complying with the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 in relation to the slaughter of red meat animals. It also suggests the best practices which can help to achieve this.
It is not a substitute for the law. Anyone involved with the stunning and sticking of red meat animals should acquaint themselves with the requirements of the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995.
Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 S.I. 1995 No 731 is published by The Stationery Office, price 6.10.

STUNNING AND STICKING

Animals must not be subjected to avoidable excitement, pain or suffering

Anyone carrying out stunning and sticking must have the knowledge and skill necessary to perform the task humanely and efficiently

At every premises there must be a member of staff responsible for safeguarding animal welfare

STUNNING
Always
ensure that an effective stun is achieved
keep stunning equipment maintained and clean
have available a reserve stunning instrument in good working order for the immediate use in case the first stunning instrument fails to operate effectively
stun injured animals without delay
Handle animals in a manner which will allow stunning, hoisting and sticking to take place without delay
complete all operations on one animal before the next is handled if working alone
stun adult cattle in a stunning or restraining pen which is in good working order
always bleed without delay after stunning
Never
leave animals waiting in stunning pens
place an animals in a stunning pen unless the person who is carry out the stunning is ready to do so immediately
Stun an animal unless you are sure you can apply the stunning instrument correctly
stun an animal unless it is possible to for it to be stuck without delay
use electrical stunning equipment for the purposes other than stunning animals
tie the legs of the animal or suspend it by the legs before stunning
STICKING
Knives should always be kept sharp
Always
stick animals promptly after stunning
stick with a cut at an appropriate position for the species to ensure that all major blood vessels are severed
Never
carry out electrical stimulation or any dressing procedure on an animal until bleeding has ended and in any event not until a period of at least 20 seconds in the case of sheep, goats and pigs and 30 seconds in the case of cattle has elapsed following sticking.
Achieving high welfare of red meat animals at slaughter depends on
  •  
sympathetic, informed and competent handling
  •  
provision of well maintained equipment and facilities designed with welfare of live animals in mind