RSPCA definition of humane killing.
The RSPCA's (Non Government not for profit organisation) definition of humane killing is: ‘an animal must be either killed instantly or rendered insensible to pain until death supervenes’. When killing animals for food (termed slaughter), this means they must be stunned prior to bleeding out so they immediately become unconscious.
All methods of humane killing, including slaughter and on-farm euthanasia, must meet the same criteria:
- death of an animal without panic, pain or distress
- instant unconsciousness followed by rapid death without regaining consciousness
- reliability for both single or large numbers of animals
- simplicity and minimal maintenance
- minimal detrimental impact on operators or observers
- animal handling
- selection of the best killing method
- correct application of the killing method
- proper maintenance of equipment
- operated instruments, such as captive-bolt pistols, followed by bleeding out
- instruments for stunning by electric current, followed by bleeding out
- the use of gas, followed by bleeding out.
- Frontal method - the firearm is directed at a point midway across the forehead where two lines from the topside of the base of the ears and top of the eyes intersect (pigs – from the bottom side of the ears to the eyes). The line of fire should be aimed horizontally into the skull towards the centre of the brain or spinal cord.
- Poll method (for horned animals) - the animal is shot through the skull just behind the base of the horns. The line of fire should be in line with the animal’s muzzle.
- Temporal method - the firearm is directed at a point midway between the eye and the base of the ear on the same side of the head. The projectile should be directed horizontally into the skull.