Knacker's yard and on-farm killing: standard operating procedures

The instructions you must make for how your staff handle, stun and kill animals that aren't meant for human consumption.

If you run a knacker’s yard, you must provide instructions for how your staff treat animals when they’re working with them.

These instructions are called standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The purpose of SOPs is to spare the animals any avoidable pain or distress.

Activities for which you need standard operating procedures

Your SOPs must set out how the following activities should be done:

  • unloading animals
  • keeping animals in holding pens and fields (lairage)
  • moving and handling animals
  • restraining animals
  • stunning and killing animals
  • monitoring the stunning of animals

You can’t use the same SOP for an activity that involves two different types of animals, ie you need an SOP for unloading cattle and an SOP for unloading sheep.

An inspector may ask to see your SOPs.

SOP for animal stunning

For each method you use to stun animals, you need to have an SOP which:

  • states the methods you can use and the relevant factors
  • includes the manufacturer’s recommendations on using and maintaining any stunning equipment you use
  • explains how to check an animal has been properly stunned and check for signs of consciousness and unconsciousness
  • explains what to do if an animal hasn’t been properly stunned

Maintain equipment

You must maintain equipment for restraining and stunning in line with the manufacturer’s instructions. You must keep records each time you carry out maintenance.

You must keep these records for at least a year - inspectors can ask to see them.

Published 16 October 2015