Why stop the way backyard slaughter has been done for many years?

It is necessary to apply strict law for slaughterhouses and one of the aims of the current draft regulations is to do away with inappropriate slaughtering facilities and unsatisfactory slaughtering techniques often associated with less hygienic backyard slaughtering. As a comparison, food safety standards within the fishing industry are very high compared to those in the current meat industry.

Why the concern?

In many cases, backyard slaughtering is carried out in unhygienic conditions, disinfection is often not carried out and meat is not effectively protected from flies, dust and other deleterious matter. Waste and water are not always adequately disposed off. There is often inappropriate storage and holding of meat, and the mode of transporting meat to sell to the public is sometimes poor, with some vehicles being used for multiple purposes.

In backyard slaughter, animals are often dragged and butchered while still alive. Some sheep and goats are killed without ‘stunning’ first. Animals are at risk of suffering prolonged deaths, sometimes at the hands of untrained and unskilled backyard slaughterers.

This is not to mention the effect on close neighbours.

How do slaughterhouses compare?

A registered slaughterhouse is designed and constructed so as to ensure hygienic slaughter and so arranged to provide adequate space and facilities for the efficient dressing of carcasses, meat inspection and related activities. They permit clean operations to be carried out separately from those liable to give rise to contamination, and they permit functioning of all operations under hygienic conditions. Registered slaughterhouses are also effectively screened from pests and other vermin.

The slaughterhouses are equipped with stunning apparatus and slaughtermen are trained and experienced.

Will backyard slaughter be allowed at all?

The rearing of animals is of great importance both socially and economically. The issue of home slaughter for retail is a sensitive matter, but the establishment of slaughter facilities of sufficiently high standards, simple and relatively inexpensive, would improve matters greatly.

During the forthcoming consultation period on the introduction of this new legislation, we want to hear your views on backyard slaughtering and how you would address the main hygiene concerns. We can then adopt a solution that takes into account local conditions, bearing in mind the primary objective of food safety.


11 November 2015


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