Executive summary

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					Executive summary
Background
Animal welfare at slaughter is currently protected by the Welfare of Animals
(Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 (WASK). This transposes Council
Directive 93/119/EC on the protection of animals at the time of slaughter or
killing. On 1st January 2013 a new EU Regulation, 1099/2009 on the
protection of animals at the time of killing, comes into effect, replacing
Directive 93/119/EC. This was developed in light of scientific developments,
European Food Safety Authority opinions and public concern regarding poor
practice in some member states. Its aim is to improve welfare in several key
areas whilst ensuring a level playing field for business operators.

The issue
This change in EU legislation means that WASK must be revoked, at least in
part, and replaced with new domestic legislation to implement and enforce
Regulation 1099/2009.

Regulation 1099/2009 mainly comprises technical rules that are directly
applicable in all Member States. However, it adopts a more outcome-led
approach than current domestic WASK legislation, setting out a number of
overarching welfare requirements that must be met while giving relatively little
detail on how this should be achieved. This could potentially give rise to gaps
in protection compared with current domestic legislation. To offset this,
Regulation 1099/2009 provides the option to retain national rules existing in
domestic legislation in 2009 (when the Regulation came into force) and/or to
introduce new national rules on slaughter outside a slaughterhouse, farmed
game, and religious slaughter where these go beyond the Regulation in terms
of protecting animal welfare.

This flexibility in how the Regulation is implemented is unusual and the
Scottish Government must consider the public-good benefits, ethical
considerations, and the financial costs to businesses attached to taking
advantage of it. We must also consider the most appropriate way of enforcing
those directly applicable elements of the Regulation in Scotland. This
Consultation is one method by which we shall gather information to inform the
final shape of the implementing legislation. The Consultation is running for 8
weeks from 29th August to 26th October 2012
Key points
Directly applicable measures
Regulation 1099/2009 mainly comprises technical rules that are directly
applicable in all Member States. These give rise to changes in, for example:
the scope of the legislation, licensing arrangements, management practices,
operational practices, and stunning requirements. This consultation outlines
in more detail what these changes are, provides a link to the Regulation for
further information, but does not seek views on these changes as we have no
option but to implement them as they stand. However, work has been
undertaken in conjunction with other UK Administrations on proposals for
mechanisms to implement these changes in a consistent manner across the
UK; for example on training, licensing mechanisms, enforcement, offences
and penalties. Views on these aspects are being sought.

Certificates of Competence
One aspect of the directly applicable measures that will be of particular
interest is the transition from WASK slaughter licences to Regulation
1099/2009 Certificates of Competence. The EU Regulation introduces a two-
step approach to licensing, with a requirement to undergo training and
assessment by a body free from any conflict of interest and to exchange the
resulting qualification certificate for a Certificate of Competence. Under the
new system, training and assessment to obtain a Certificate of Competence
will be independent of the competent authority and will be delivered as a
qualification in line with an agreed framework and awarded by independently
accredited organisations. Crucially, the requirement for training and a
Certificate of Competence will be extended to those handling livestock prior to
slaughter, including in lairage.

The Scottish Government are working to provide a training framework for
Scotland in line with the framework that will be made available in the rest of
the UK. Both the framework and any Awarding Organisations will be
accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. At this point, it is unlikely
that courses will be available before December 2012; we acknowledge that
this is far from ideal but propose a mechanism to allow existing workers
requiring training under the new Regulation to continue working until they can
obtain that training. We are aware of the possible financial implications of this
training requirement for small and remote businesses in particular and seek
early views on this.

Until 8th December 2015, Regulation 1099/2009 allows Member States to
establish a simplified approach to issue of Certificates of Competence for staff
with three or more years relevant professional experience. The Scottish
Government intends to take full advantage of this opportunity in line with the rest
of the UK and had been working with Defra and the other Devolved
Administrations. Proposals are outlined and views are sought on these.

Existing national rules
Regulation 1099/2009 allows Member States to maintain national rules
existing when the Regulation came into force on 8 December 2009 where
these provide more extensive protection of animals at the time of killing than
the minimum standards prescribed by Regulation 1099/2009. There are a
number of specific areas where the Regulation might be considered to set
lower welfare standards than currently apply in the UK - these are outlined in
this consultation. The Scottish Government is committed to keeping
regulatory burdens to a minimum and would not normally consider the use of
national rules to supplement provisions in an EU regulation. However we are
also committed to securing good standards of animal welfare. For this
reason, and after initial discussion with key stakeholders, our starting principle
will be to maintain all existing national rules that go beyond Regulation
1099/2009. The Scottish Government will only consider proposals for the
removal of specific national rules where there are valid reasons to do so and
where doing so does not compromise animal welfare. This consultation
provides you with an opportunity to propose the removal of existing national
rules where you consider such action necessary.

New national rules
Regulation 1099/2009 also allows the introduction of new stricter national
rules to improve welfare protection given to animals killed outside a
slaughterhouse, farmed game and animals killed by methods prescribed by
religious rites. It is Scottish Government policy to avoid imposing
unnecessary additional regulatory burdens on industry. However, we are also
committed to improving animal welfare. A number of suggestions for new
stricter national rules have been made and inclusion of some or all of these
suggestions in the implementing legislation will be considered on a case by
case basis where there is objective evidence that doing so will significantly
improve animal welfare. This consultation gives you the opportunity to
comment on the suggestions made to date, and to propose additional or
alternative new stricter national rules in these three specific areas.

Religious slaughter
Slaughter without pre-stunning is permitted for religious purposes by
Regulation 1099/2009, but the conditions laid down for welfare protection in
this situation are far behind existing UK legislation. The Regulation does
allow Member States to impose further conditions or even to ban the practice
through national rules. There are obviously strong feelings from both
perspectives as to how far this opportunity should be taken. No slaughter
without stunning currently occurs in Scotland; however, the Scottish
Government recognises the right of members of religious communities to eat
meat prepared in accordance with their religious beliefs. We intend to
maintain existing national rules on religious slaughter. We will only consider
new national rules where there is evidence of a likely beneficial impact on
welfare and where to do so does not prevent the production of meat according
to religious beliefs. This consultation provides an opportunity to comment on
these proposals.

Differences within the UK
Regulation 1099/2009 is directly applicable to all Member States but the
flexibility surrounding national rules means that there is the potential for
differences between UK Administrations in a number of areas. Feedback
from Scottish stakeholders to date suggests that there is a willingness to go
much further to legislate to improve animal welfare at slaughter in Scotland
than appears to be the case in some other parts of the UK at present. We
feel that this stance should be but we would not wish to create difficulties for
the Scottish industry when interacting with the rest of the UK industry. Views
on this question are therefore sought.



Compulsory CCTV
There have been calls for the Scottish Government to make the use of CCTV
in slaughterhouses compulsory. We acknowledge that CCTV could provide,
alongside other methods, inconspicuous monitoring; however it also has
limitations. In addition, an FSA report (May 2012) recently found no
significant variation in compliance levels with WASK between those premises
with or without CCTV. We are aware that the Scottish Parliament Cross Party
Animal Welfare Group has convened a subgroup to take forward a detailed
survey on CCTV and we expect to receive recommendations from them,
probably in autumn 2012. However, in order to fully appraise the proposal for
compulsory CCTV, we would also need to consider the burdens a regulatory
approach would place on small and medium size businesses, as well as the
overall impact that CCTV might have in reducing welfare abuses in
slaughterhouses. Given the time constraints for implementing Regulation
1099/2009, we do not plan to pursue proposals for compulsory CCTV further
at this time. However, we may re-visit the matter in future should there be
clear objective evidence that making CCTV compulsory would have a
significant benefit to welfare monitoring beyond that of methods already
available. This consultation seeks views in that context.
Conclusion
The Scottish Government appreciates that this is a long consultation
document; however, we hope that you agree that this is not unnecessarily so.
Implementing EU Regulation 1099/2009 is a hugely complex project, and it is
crucial that we get as much information from stakeholders and people dealing
with the day to day practicalities as possible. We want to ensure that this
Regulation is implemented in the most appropriate way for Scotland, and the
Scottish Government would very much appreciate your help in determining
what Scotland’s approach should be.

				
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