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CHAPTER 8: Maintenance of good animal welfare standards


Five major critical control points
Objective scoring of efficacy standards at critical control points

People who handle or slaughter hundreds of animals become desensitised to suffering and have a tendency to become rough or careless unless their daily work is continuously monitored. Managers must maintain high standards of operational animal welfare.

Five major critical control points

It is strongly recommended that an HACCP-type system be used to measure and monitor the efficacy and performance of livestock and slaughter operators. HACCP-Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points-is a system primarily used in meat plants to ensure food safety. By adapting the system to make regular measurements at Critical Control Points (CCPs) in the process, various critical operations, which are carried out by workers handling and slaughtering livestock, can be monitored to ensure that it is done correctly, leading to steady improvements in welfare and operational quality. An objective scoring system for certain operations is described. Evaluations of animal welfare against accepted standards and also between evaluators can be made. Five major critical control points of animal handling and slaughter are briefly outlined here.

Suggested control points for monitoring and evaluation are:

1. Stunning efficacy - the percentage of animals rendered insensible at the first attempt.
a. Captive bolt stunning - correct shooting
b. Electric tongs stunning - correct placement
2. Bleed rail insensibility - the percentage of animals that remain insensible before and after bleeding (using the same criteria as in 1).

3. Vocalisation - the percentage of cattle or pigs that vocalise (bellow, moo or squeal) during adverse events such as missed stuns, excessive electric prod use, excessive pressure from restraint device slipping or falling etc. Each animal is scored as a vocalizer or non-vocalizer during handling and stunning, not in the holding pens. Vocalising scoring is not used on sheep as they often do this anyway.

4. Slipping and falling - the percentage of animals that slip or fall during handling or stunning. Selected stations should be chosen for monitoring.

5. Electric prods - percentage of animals requiring prodding with an electric goad.

Monitoring and audit of these CCPs must be done on a regular basis.

Objective scoring of efficacy standards at critical control points

1.a. Captive bolt - Stunning efficacy

(Score, per day, a minimum of 20 animals or 20% in large plants)

* Excellent - 99-100% instantly rendered insensible with one shot;

* Acceptable - 95-98%;

* Not acceptable - 90-94%;

* Serious problems - less than 90%.

Action: if one-shot efficacy falls below 95% immediate action must be taken to improve the percentage.

1.b. Electrical stunning - Tongs placement efficacy

(Score all pigs, sheep or ostriches or a minimum of 100 in large plants)

* Excellent - 99.5-100% correct placement of stunning tongs;

* Acceptable - 99.4-99%;

* Not acceptable - 98-95%;

* Serious problem - less than 95%.

2. Insensibility after stunning

(Score a minimum of 20 animals or 20% in large plants)

- If the animal is hoisted immediately after stunning, evaluate after hoisting (unless it shows obvious sensibility);

- If the animal is left on the ground, wait 15-30 seconds before evaluating to allow spasms to stop (especially in electrically stunned);

- Any animal, which shows any signs of sensibility, must immediately be re-stunned.

* Excellent

- Cattle - less than 1 per 1000 or 0.1%;
- Pigs - less than 1 per 2000 or 0.05%;
* Acceptable
- Cattle - less than 1 per 500 or 0.2%;
- Pigs - less than 1 per 1000 or 0.1%.
3.a. Criteria for vocalization of cattle

- In crowd pen, lead-up race, stun box or restraint device.

(Score minimum of 20 animals or 20% in large plants)

Score each animal Yes for vocalizer and No for non-vocalizer

* Excellent - 0.05% or less of cattle Yes;

* Acceptable - 3% or less Yes;

* Not acceptable - 4-10% Yes;

* Serious problem - more than 10% Yes.

3.b Criteria for vocalization of pigs

- In restrainer, stunning pen or during stunning.

(Score minimum of 20 pigs or 10% in large plant)

Score each animal Yes for vocalizer and No for non-vocalizer

* Excellent - 0% of the pigs Yes;

* Acceptable - 1% or less pigs Yes for restrainer, 0% due to misplaced tongs;

* Not acceptable - 2% or more Yes in restrainer or pen;

* Serious problem - 5% or more Yes in restrainer or pen.

Reducing the level of pig squealing improves pork quality and decreases PSE.

Do not use vocalization scoring for sheep.

4. Slipping and failing in the stunning area

- Includes restrainer entrances, races, holding pens and unloads ramp.

(Score a minimum of 20 animals or 10% in large plants)

Score on Yes for slip and No for non-slip.

* Excellent - no slipping or falling;

* Acceptable - slipping of less than 3% of animals;

* Not acceptable - 1% falling down (body touches floor);

* Serious problem - 5% falling down or 15% slipping.

5. Electric prodding efficacy

If the prod causes the animal to vocalise, the current is too strong.

(Score a minimum of 20 animals or 10% in large plants)

Score Yes if the animals vocalise and No if don’t.

a. Electric prods scoring criteria for cattle:


Crowd pens to race

Entrance to stun box

Total percentage of cattle prodded

* Excellent

no Yesses

5% or less

5% or less

* Acceptable

no Yesses

10% or less

10% or less

* Not accept


20% or less

20% or less

* Serious problem



50% or more


b. Electric prods scoring criteria for pigs:


Crowd pens to race

Entrance to restrainer

Total percentage of pigs prodded

* Excellent

no Yesses

10% or less

10% or less

* Acceptable

no Yesses

-

15% or less

* Not accept

no Yesses

-

25% or less

* Serious problem

-

-

50% or more


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