←Go back to RSPCA

RSPCA Australia knowledgebase

RSPCA Australia Knowledgebase

Search:     Advanced search

Is home slaughter of farm animals humane?

Article ID: 227
Last updated: 23 Jan, 2015
Revision: 3
Views: 34275

RSPCA Australia is opposed to the sale at (street) markets and saleyards of individual farm animals destined for home slaughter because it cannot be guaranteed that such animals will be humanely and competently handled, transported and then killed. Such practices may occur, for example, during certain religious festivals where it is common to sacrifice an animal, e.g. a goat, sheep or cow.

Our policy on transport of food animals states that we support the humane slaughter of food animals as near as possible to the point of production. Our policy on humane killing states that an animal must be killed instantly or instantaneously rendered insensible to pain until death supervenes. In addition, the method of killing and the skill of the operator are essential aspects of the slaughtering process. For instance, the RSPCA considers shooting by firing a bullet into the brain to be the most consistent and reliable means of humanely killing most livestock animals. This requires skill and experience in the use of the appropriate firearm for this purpose and experience in handling the species concerned.

Home slaughter is not illegal in Australia, but meat from animals killed 'at home' is not allowed to be sold in a commercial context, i.e. it is for home use only.

Home slaughter may also be carried out 'on farm' where individual animals are slaughtered (usually by the farmer) for personal consumption. The concept of a mobile slaughtering unit arose from this need. A mobile slaughtering unit drives into the paddock, the animal is shot, the meat processed inside the unit and the carcass/cuts provided to the owner of the animal. However, mobile slaughtering units are unregulated industries and there are no set standards to which they are expected to adhere.

This method of slaughter is not designed for large-scale meat processing (around 40 million cattle, calves, sheep, lambs are slaughtered in Australia each year). It would seem that regulation of the industry, licensing of mobile butchers, and the ability to comply to food safety standards are the initial steps which could eventually lead to these butchers being able to sell their meat commercially and subsequently operate on a larger scale.

Mobile slaughtering units with experienced operators provide a welfare advantage in terms of eliminating the stress of (long-distance) transport, the stress of mixing with unfamiliar animals and the stress of the slaughtering process itself.

 
Inexperienced persons slaughtering an animal, for example in the form of a religious sacrifice, does not fulfill our expectations for humane slaughter. The RSPCA strongly condemns such practices.


This website provides general information which must not be relied upon or regarded as a substitute for specific professional advice, including veterinary advice. We make no warranties that the website is accurate or suitable for a person's unique circumstances and provide the website on the basis that all persons accessing the website responsibly assess the relevance and accuracy of its content.
Also read
document RSPCA Policy B7 Sale of livestock for home slaughter
document RSPCA Policy G1 Humane killing
document How are animals killed for food?
document Are there animal welfare advantages to on-farm mobile slaughtering units or micro abattoirs?

Prev   Next
Is eating cats or dogs legal?     What can be done to improve the welfare of fish and shellfish in...