RSPCA welfare standards
for domestic/common ducks
35 February 2015
* indicates an amendment
On-farm casualty killing (culling)
H 3.1 Each farm must have provisions for the humane killing of casualty birds without delay.
H 3.2 Casualty killing must be carried out by either:
a) a named, trained, competent member of staff, or
b) a licensed slaughterman, or
c) a veterinary surgeon.
It is not illegal to kill a bird to prevent further severe suffering if a method of humane killing is
available on the premises and there is someone competent to undertake the procedure.
The Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) has produced a booklet Practical Slaughter of Poultry:
A Guide for the Small Producer. Producers should obtain a copy of this booklet, from HSA, The
Old School, Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Herts AL4 8AN.
H 3.3 * Birds must only be killed on-farm using the following methods:
a) captive bolt (e.g. Cash Poultry Killer)
b) hand held electrical stunning, immediately followed by neck cutting
c) neck dislocation (see information box for legal requirements relating to this practice).
The following are legal requirements under Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 (The protection
of animals at the time of killing):
Neck dislocation must not be used as a routine method but only where there is no other
permitted method available for stunning.
No person shall kill by neck dislocation more than 70 animals per day.
Manual neck dislocation must not be used on animals of more than 3kg live weight.
Although the captive bolt device has been designed to effectively kill poultry, under current
legislation it must be followed by neck dislocation or bleeding; except when used for emergency
culling or during disease control operations. The RSPCA would strongly recommend the use of
a captive bolt device for the culling of birds.
N.B. The term 'emergency' can be used to refer to the culling of casualty birds.
H 3.4 Equipment that crushes the neck (e.g. killing pliers) must not be used.
Equipment that crushes the neck is neither quick nor humane.
H 3.5 Neck dislocation must involve stretching the neck to sever the spinal cord and cause extensive damage to
the major blood vessels.