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Define emergency slaughter. Discuss why, where, how and by whom emergency slaughter of animals can be performed.

 Emergency means any event that needs immediate action. When letting the animal to live longer or delayed slaughter of an animal is contrary to the animal welfare, the animal needs immediate action i.e. emergency slaughter. When the animal is severely injured or suffering from a disease that is associated with severe pain and sufferings and is incurable, emergency slaughter is the best option to alleviate its pain. In other words, when there is no other practical or humanely possible way to save the life of the animal and relieve its pain, the emergency slaughter of the animal is the only way and the best option. Once the condition of the animal is diagnosed and decision for emergency slaughter has been made, the slaughter should be carried out at the earliest to avoid further sufferings of the animal. But it has always to be kept in mind that though the animal needs emergency slaughter, it should be treated humanely during handling and slaughter to ensure the animal welfare.


The evaluation of the animal’s health condition should definitely be done by a qualified veterinarian. So, whenever, an animal is injured or suffering from acute pain or chronic disease, the veterinary doctor should be consulted at animal farm or at veterinary hospital. If the animal is found injured or diseased after reaching the slaughterhouse, then also the veterinary doctor should examine the animal in transport vehicle or at lairage. The doctor certifies that the animal needs emergency slaughter by designated persons depending on their availability.

The emergency slaughter can be carried out by the following persons depending upon their availability:

1) Veterinarian: In countries, where emergency killing of animal by lethal injection is allowed, veterinarian can administer the injection.

2) Slaughter Person or Butcher: If the animal can be brought to slaughter house, then the slaughter person or butcher can carry out emergency slaughter. In some countries, they need license to do so.

3) Knackerman: In some countries knackerman (who collects dead, dying or injured animals and process them into animal by-products) may be available in nearby areas for emergency slaughter of animal and the knackerman must be a certified/licensed person.

4) Animal Owner: When the above mentioned personas are not available, emergency slaughter can be performed by the animal owner provided:

· The slaughter is done humanely, as soon as possible and confidently.

· The animal owner is competent, trained person for slaughter of animal.

· The owner knows the legal requirement for emergency slaughter.

· Proper slaughter equipment is available.


As the emergency slaughter should be carried out to avoid unnecessary suffering, the animals may be slaughtered in the following places depending on the health condition of the animal and the availability of the facilities

1) Animal Farm or Where the Animal is Found Injured: If the animal is severely injured or in such a condition that it is not fit for transportation to slaughterhouse, then it should be slaughtered at the farm or on the road or on the field where it is found injured.

2) Slaughterhouse: If an otherwise healthy animal reaches slaughterhouse and it gets injured or sick severely during transportation, then the emergency slaughter is performed in a separate emergency slaughter room adjacent to the main slaughterhouse. The slaughter may even be carried out beyond the regular slaughter hours. The injured animals may be slaughtered in the transport vehicle itself, if the injury of the animal is too severe and it cannot be moved to slaughter room without hurting it more.

3) Knackery: Where knackery is available nearby the animal farm, the animals can be slaughtered by knacker person.


As the purpose of emergency slaughter is to avoid unnecessary suffering of the animal and ensuring animal welfare, the animals should be treated humanely before and during slaughter. A slaughterhouse should have a written protocol for handling the animals humanely for emergency slaughter and also must have adequate equipment for this.

The animals which are fit for transportation only need to be transported to slaughterhouse. It is a very important decision for animal welfare, whether to transport an animal or not. If the animals cannot walk or stand on their own, they should not be forcibly loaded onto or unloaded from transport vehicle. They should never be dragged or pushed. No mechanical apparatus should be used for loading the animals in a vehicle unless it is meant for animal welfare. The animals with recumbence or with limited movement due to their injuries or sickness, they should be handled with utmost care to mitigate their suffering to the extent possible. If required, bedding materials should be provided during transport.

The animals, which are incapable of walking, should be paid special attention during movement from transport vehicle to slaughter place. The animals must not be dragged by rope or pushed or lifted by ear, tail, head or leg. A suitable trolley may be used to move the animal from transport vehicle to the slaughter place without causing extra pain or sufferings to the already sick or injured animal.

The animals may have to be restrained to ensure operator safety and to facilitate safe and effective killing. For restraining, halter or head collar or lead rope can be used or the animal can be confined in a narrow pen. During restraining, any risk of injuring or strangulating the animal should be avoided.

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