The meat industry is being given the chance to shape a new qualification and standard to help safeguard animal welfare at the point of slaughter.
Improve, the food and drink skills council, is urging people from across industry to take part in a consultation exercise to help shape the development of new ‘Certificates of Competence in the Protection of Animals at Time of Killing’.
The qualification, which will be aimed at all personnel, including animal welfare officers, involved in the pre-slaughter care and slaughter of animals, will become compulsory for all new entrants to those roles, in compliance with EU Regulation 1099/2009, which sets out new animal protection standards governing the handling, restraint, stunning and slaughter of animals for human consumption.
The certificates will be a prerequisite for anyone looking to gain the Food Standards Agency-issued Licence to Practise for all professionals involved in the pre-slaughter care and slaughter of animals.
Derek Williams, Improve’s director of development, said: “The legislation driving this might be coming out of Europe, but we’re offering the opportunity for industry to be involved in setting the standards of competence within this sector. We’re not looking at gold-plating, we’re looking to achieve compliance with the minimum requirements of the regulation and produce a fit-for-purpose product that meets the needs of the regulation and the employers.”
Williams said the qualifications aim to cover a range of skills and knowledge, from the handling and care of animals in lairage up to the point where they are bled. There will also be different units for different species and processes, such as religious slaughter.
Bill Jermey of the Meat Training Council is chairing the strategy group charged with overseeing the project, and anyone interested in getting involved with the development of the qualifications, can do so through the Improve website – www.improve-skills.co.uk – and a group of technical workshops will also be running throughout May, with the consultation due to close at the beginning of June.
For more information, please contact Will Bales at Improve via e-mail at email@example.com.