RSPCA welfare standards
for domestic/common ducks
51 February 2015
* indicates an amendment
The RSPCA will phase out the inverted shackling of conscious ducks as soon as a commercially
viable and more humane alternative method of killing is available.
S 5.1 Shackling teams must be:
a) thoroughly trained and competent to handle the birds in such a way as to avoid injury
b) made fully aware of the risk of breakages that the hanging-on procedure can cause to ducks
c) supervised by a trained and competent person during the shackling process.
S 5.2 Slaughterhouse managers must ensure that sufficient personnel are employed on shackling lines at all
times to ensure due care and diligence.
S 5.3 Shackles must be of a size and type, and the killing line run at a speed, which permits ducks to be hung
on without causing unnecessary pain or distress.
S 5.4 There must be no unevenness in the line causing the shackles to jolt.
S 5.5 Birds must be hung on by both legs.
S 5.6 The shackler must use a handling technique that calms the bird as it is being shackled.
Holding the bird's legs for 0.5 seconds after shackling, and/or running the hands gently down
the legs and body of the bird, may help calm the bird and reduce the incidence of wing flapping.
S 5.7 From the point of shackling to entry into the stun bath there must be:
a) a breast comforter to prevent wing flapping and birds raising their heads
b) no noises that cause unnecessary disturbance to the birds
c) a maximum light level of 5 lux.
The area of the shackle line that transports live birds may be lit with blue light.
The provision of a breast comforter and a reduction in noise and light levels all help to calm the
bird and prevent it raising its head, vocalising and wing flapping. Breast comforters should be
constructed from firm rubber or plastic curtain and extend below the eye level of the bird.
The shackle line, from the point of shackling to entry into the stun bath, should follow as straight
a line as possible, i.e. bends in the line should be avoided.
S 5.8 * Birds must appear calm on the shackle line.
S 5.9 Care must be taken to ensure that birds cannot escape from the holding area or fall from the shackle line.
S 5.10 Where loose birds are found they must be taken immediately to the hanging on area or, if injured,
immediately humanely killed.