Killer cows - warning issued

Workers are being warned about killer cattle in a new poster designed to help prevent injuries.

The poster, entitled ‘Cattle can kill - don’t let it be you’, advises that cows are unpredictable and capable of attacking and killing people, and has been sent to all approved premises that slaughter cattle, as well as to livestock markets.


It suggests that, when unloading cows, operators should try not to enter cattle trucks, allowing animals to come out of their own accord. It also gives tips on how to deal with escaped cattle and what to do when an animal has attacked an operator: try not to move it but have it humanely killed where it is. The poster finishes with the advice, ‘The health and safety of people take priority over animal welfare’.

The HSE/Meat Trades Working Group designed the poster after reviewing the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) Health and Safety Guidance Notes for the Meat Industry.


BMPA assistant director Janet Lim said the idea came about after the group had discussed the issue of cattle escaping both within the slaughterhouse and beyond the perimeter of the premises. “Although not that common, incidents do occur and, in some cases, serious harm has arisen - hence the poster in raising awareness to those handling cattle in this situation,” said Lim.


The Health and Safety Executive reports that in the six-year period from April 2001 to March 2007, there were 53 injuries involving cattle in the vicinity of the lairage, (but not during stunning or in the stun box, or post-slaughter), three of them fatal.


The poster has been manufactured in a durable format and should be displayed within, or next to, lairage facilities. It is also available from the BMPA website in a pdf format.