RSPCA welfare standards for farmed Atlantic salmon 43 September 2015
* indicates an amendment
Fish need to be killed humanely without any unnecessary distress or discomfort. Pre-slaughter
crowding and handling needs to be kept to an absolute minimum. Personnel involved in slaughter
need to be thoroughly trained and competent to carry out the required tasks.
The RSPCA is considering including the requirement for harvest stations to fit sea lice filtration
equipment in the near future.
S 1.1 Prior to killing, fish must:
a) only be fasted for the absolute minimum period required to meet food hygiene requirements
b) not be fasted for more than 72 hours, unless fasting is beneficial for welfare.
S 1.2 Crowding and handling prior to killing must be kept to an absolute minimum.
S 1.3 Farmed fish must be humanely killed.
S 1.4 The method of killing used must rapidly, and without pain and distress, render the fish insensible, until
S 1.4.1 An efficiently applied percussive blow is the only permitted killing method at present.
S 1.4.2 Humane mechanical devices must be used in preference to a manual percussive blow (except for
S 1.4.3 The use of mechanical devices must be monitored to ensure that they are working properly and that they
are delivering the stun at the correct location.
S 1.5 One blow must be delivered to the top of the head just behind the eyes, of sufficient force to cause
immediate loss of consciousness that lasts until death.
S 1.5.1 A priest must be available throughout the killing process to allow a manual percussive blow to be
administered in an emergency.
S 1.6 Bleeding must follow within 10 seconds.
S 1.7 * All staff involved with the slaughter/killing process must have received full training and be fully competent in
all methods of harvest - dead haul, shore based or cage side.
S 1.8 There must be a named person responsible for fish welfare throughout the killing process who has attended
a recognised training course in humane killing of fish.
S 1.9 * Before the beginning of each harvest:
a) the system must be tested to ensure that it is working effectively
b) the results of these checks must be recorded
c) in the case of Freedom Food members the results must be made available to the Freedom Food
Assessor or RSPCA Farm Livestock Officer.