Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Slaughter: emergency slaughter for human consumption

Contributor(s): Alessandro Seguino , Ed van Klink

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Introduction

  • This article focuses on EU requirements.
  • Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing (PATOK) defines “slaughtering” as the killing of animals intended for human consumption.
  • Slaughtering of animals must only be carried out in approved slaughterhouses but Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 (the Hygiene Regulation) also allows emergency slaughter outside the slaughterhouse (i.e. on farm).
  • Farmers, as primary producers of food, have to ensure that only clean and healthy animals are presented for slaughter.
  • Even on farms with very high standards, animals will suffer accidents.  If the animal is fit to be transported, then it should be sent to slaughter at the closest abattoir.
  • If an animal is deemed unfit for transport to a slaughter house then the options are:
    • Emergency slaughter on farm.  
    • Veterinary treatment.
      • Be conscious of the withdrawal period of medicines used.
    • Kill and dispose of as fallen stock at the farm.
  • According to the Hygiene Regulation, only domestic ungulates (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, bison, water buffalo and solipeds) that are “otherwise healthy animals that have suffered an accident that prevented its transport to the slaughterhouse for welfare reasons are eligible for emergency slaughter”.
  • The Hygiene regulation also permits bovine animals (including water buffalo, bison) and other even-toed farmed game (Cervide and suidae) to be slaughtered on farm in “exceptional circumstances” such as those that would put human health or animal welfare at risk if the animals were transported live.
    • In these cases, it is always recommended to contact the Food Business Operator and the Official Veterinarian at the abattoir for advice before any action is taken.
Slaughterhouse operators are under no obligation to accept emergency slaughtered animals, and may be unable or unwilling to do so for technical or commercial reasons.

Animals that cannot be sent to the abattoir as emergency slaughter

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Fitness for Transport

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Slaughtering of animals at the farm

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Documentation to accompany the body of the animal to the abattoir

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Incorrect procedures that can prevent the meat of emergency slaughtered animals to enter the food chain at the abattoir

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

Other sources of information

  • Food Standards Agency (FSA) (2016) Manual for Official Control (Amendment 74). Available at: www.food.gov.uk/.
  • Humane Slaughter Association (HAS) (2013) Captive-bolt stunning of livestock. Available at: www.hsa.org.uk.
  • British cattle Veterinary Association (BCVA) (2010) Guidance for veterinary surgeons on the emergency slaughter of cattle. Available at: www.food.gov.uk/.
  • Official Journal of the European Union - Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing (PATOK). Available at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/.
  • Official Journal of the European Union – Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 laying down specific hygiene rules for on the hygiene of foodstuffs. Available at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/.
  • Official Journal of the European Union – Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2005 on the protection of animals during transport and related operations. Available at: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/.

Organisation(s)


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