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Employers’ views sought on welfare qualifications

20 April 2011

Employers in the meat and poultry industry are being asked to assist in the development of new qualifications aimed at safeguarding animal welfare at the time of slaughter

Improve, the food and drink skills council, is leading on the development of new Certificates of Competence in the Protection of Animals at Time of Killing, which will be aimed at all personnel, including animal welfare officers, involved in the pre-slaughter care and slaughter of animals.

The certificates will be developed 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.

Under the terms of the regulations, the certificates will become a pre-requisite for gaining 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: “We are very keen to get employers and employer representatives involved in developing these qualifications because they are the people who understand the technical requirements of caring for animals.

“They are therefore in the best position to help us ensure that the content of the qualifications not only meets the regulatory requirements but is also relevant to what actually goes on in the workplace.

“The qualifications will include a range of units covering skills and knowledge related to the different areas specified by the regulations - handling and care of animals before they are restrained, the restraint of animals for the purpose of stunning or killing, the stunning of animals, the assessment of effective stunning, the shackling or hoisting of live animals, the bleeding of live animals and religious slaughter. There will also be different units for different animals.

“In order to gain the certificates, employees will only have to complete the units relevant to the activities they are involved with and the animals they work with.”

Bill Jermey of the Meat Training Council is chairing the strategy group charged with overseeing the project.

He said: “One of the key outcomes we have to achieve is ensuring that the completed qualifications will be available before Regulation 1099/2009 comes into force in 2012, therefore giving operatives the chance to become compliant with the new rules governing the licence to practice before their introduction. I am also keen to ensure that these regulations are not “gold-plated” and do not put an excessive burden on industry.”

For anyone interested in getting involved with the development of the qualifications, consultation will open on the Improve website (www.improve-skills.co.uk) on 25 April.

A series of technical workshops open to employers to discuss the content in more depth will also take place as follows:

· 10 May for livestock employers in London

· 11 May for poultry employers in London

· 19 May for training providers in York


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