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The HSA releases specialist new training material for the on-farm killing of  neonate pigs, goats and sheep

28 July 2020


As part of its work to promote the highest standards of welfare for food animals during transport, marketing and slaughter, the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA), has published a new training guide for the emergency, humane killing of neonate pigs, goats and sheep on-farm.  This publication is the culmination of research funded by Defra and carried out by the University of Bristol in collaboration with the HSA.

Occasionally young piglets, goat kids or lambs have to be killed on-farm due to injury, ill health or disease.  This guidance describes the use of mechanical, non-penetrating captive-bolt devices for the emergency, humane killing of neonate (new born/infant) pigs, goats and sheep up to a maximum weight of five kilograms (eleven pounds).  It steers the operator through the process and also explains what constitutes an effective stun-kill.

Primarily aimed at livestock producers and veterinary surgeons, the guidance, with illustrations and video links, is available to download free of charge from the charity’s website (

The HSA’s Technical Director Charlie Mason said: “An inescapable fact of animal production is that where there is livestock there will sometimes be dead stock and, occasionally, new-born or infant animals have to be killed to prevent or end suffering.  This guidance is aimed at all those who shoulder the responsibility for this difficult, but essential, part of animal husbandry.” 



Note to Editors:

The Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) is an independent charity recognised internationally for promoting scientific, technical and educational advances towards improving the welfare of food animals worldwide at slaughter, killing, marketing and transport.

Its work includes researching, refining and demonstrating humane slaughter methods, publishing material such as guidelines, best practice, books and videos, funding research projects and the development of equipment. Specialist technical staff provide expert and practical advice on all welfare issues relating to food animals.

The HSA is funded by voluntary donations, subscriptions and legacies.

For more information about the HSA’s work call 01582 831919, email or visit


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