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RR1014 - Reducing the risk of kick injury during the shackling and sticking of cattle in abattoirs

The slaughter operations in abattoirs vary considerably due to different technical design, different stun systems and different killing rates. The shackling and sticking tasks place the operative at a high risk of being kicked during the slaughter task, as the operative is required to work predominantly within the kick envelope, ie within the functional reach of the animal’s limbs. It is impossible to stop animals from kicking during slaughter with a stun/kill protocol based on captive bolt stunning. Furthermore, it is difficult to predict which animal will have post stun convulsions and how strong those convulsions will be. This uncertainty makes it difficult to directly control the risk of kicking during the shackling and sticking tasks.

The purpose of this report is to investigate the shackling and sticking tasks, in order to find ways to eliminate or reduce the risk to the operator by redesigning the work task. Beyond this it is a matter of demonstrating that all that is reasonably practicable has been done to protect the welfare of staff performing the stunning, shackling and sticking tasks and making continual incremental improvements in the process, with the aim of reducing the level of risk to the operator.

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Updated 2014-09-02