Seminar discusses challenges faced in slaughter industry

Seminar discusses challenges faced in slaughter industry

The Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) recently held a one-day seminar for the meat and livestock industry entitled WATOK One Year On– Meeting the challenges… Where are we now?

The seminar took place on 12th October in the East Midlands and was aimed at all those associated with animal welfare at slaughter.

(L to R): Malcolm Mitchell (SRUC); Collin Willson (FSA); Vasco Antunes (DG Sante); Derek Williams (FDQ); Tasha Sexton (Capestone Organic Poultry); Craig Kirby (AIMS); Gavin Morris (Dunbia) and Charlie Mason (HSA).  Photo credit: HSA.

(L to R): Malcolm Mitchell (SRUC); Collin Willson (FSA); Vasco Antunes (DG Sante); Derek Williams (FDQ); Tasha Sexton (Capestone Organic Poultry); Craig Kirby (AIMS); Gavin Morris (Dunbia) and Charlie Mason (HSA). Photo credit: HSA.

Animal welfare officers, veterinary surgeons, meat inspectors, food business operators, slaughter men, lairage workers, enforcement officers and legislators were all in attendance.

Delegates came from across the UK to discuss the challenges faced since the new Welfare at the Time Of Killing (WATOK) regulations were introduced in England in November 2015.

Speakers explained the changes from an administrative perspective and provided examples of how the change in legislation had impacted on members of industry.

Large and small scale producers were present and a discussion period which followed the presentations gave all the delegates the opportunity to share their experiences and raise questions.

The main theme of the discussion was the finite life of the temporary Certificates of Competence (three months), which causes particular problems for people operating in small slaughter plants and seasonal producers due to a potential inability to gain practical experience, be assessed and prove to be competent within this timeframe.

Delegates felt that this was an area which should be addressed in the future by the industry and relevant competent authorities.

The seminar featured speakers including Vasco Antunes from the European Commission; Derek Williams from Food and Drink Qualifications (FDQ); and Collin Willson from the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Representatives from AIMS, Capestone Organic Poultry Ltd and Dunbia also made speaking appearances.

HSA’s technical director Charles Mason said: “It was encouraging to see widespread support for the seminar and I’d like to thank all the delegates for their active and honest participation.”

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