The use of free projectiles for the slaughter or killing of animals is not limited to the single shot, free-bullet humane killer, as widely used by veterinary surgeons and knackermen. Other types of handguns (adapted or otherwise), rifles and shotguns can also be used with equal effect. Often, the use of a shotgun may be preferable to other methods for both animal welfare and operator safety reasons. Indeed, where emergencies arise on farms, shotguns are often more readily available than any other weapon.

The most commonly used equipment includes:

  • Humane killers (specifically manufactured/adapted, single-shot weapons and ‘Bell Guns’ of various calibres)
  • Shotguns (12, 16, 20, 28 bore and .410)
  • Rifles (.22, .243, .270, .308)
  • Handguns (various calibres from .32 to .45)


Legislation controlling firearms differs across the world. Operators must ensure that they operate within the bounds of relevant national legislation. Contact your local authority for information before obtaining or using any firearm.


Next: Humane Killer

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