Last Update: 10 Jan 2022.

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5.4 Animal arrivals system & facilities

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Pig Welfare, Slaughter and Biosecurity / Pig welfare

5.4.1 Facilities shall be provided at the abattoir lairage for the unloading of pigs. The angle between the tail ramps and the unloading ramp shall be no steeper than 20°. 

5.4.2 Where there is evidence of pigs slipping or falling then the angle of the unloading ramp should be checked and any non-compliance reported to the Red Tractor Livestock Transport Scheme. 

5.4.3 Charter participants shall use a planned arrivals system and provide livestock vehicle drivers with advanced notice of their allocated time slots for delivering pigs to the site. There shall be a system in place to allow drivers to notify the site if they are more than an hour late.

5.4.4 The charter participant shall have completed the unloading of the pigs at the lairage within 45 minutes of the livestock vehicle arriving on site. The time the livestock vehicle arrives on site to the time the last pig has been unloaded at the lairage shall be recorded.

5.4.5 Where vehicles arrive at the site more than 30 minutes prior to their planned arrival time, and it is not possible to unload within 45 minutes (see 5.5(b), an AWO shall carry out a documented welfare risk assessment to assess the condition and welfare of the pigs. Where concerns are raised, priority shall be given to the unloading of these animals before their planned unloading slot.

5.4.6 The risk assessment shall further consider whether conditions and circumstances (e.g. type and number of vehicles, length of journey time, weather conditions, road accidents) would allow the pigs to remain on the vehicle, without detriment to their welfare, until the planned arrival slot. 

5.4.7 Where the AWO decides that it is acceptable for the pigs to remain on the vehicle, welfare of the pigs shall be monitored at regular intervals (not less than every hour) and details recorded.

5.4.8 The risk assessment study and any monitoring shall be readily available for review by the service provider.

5.4.9 The unloading of pigs shall be carried out in a calm manner so as not to compromise the welfare of the pigs. 

5.4.10 Documented routine monitoring of the process shall be carried out by the AWO or competent deputy.

5.4.11 The condition of all pigs shall be monitored during unloading. 

5.4.12 Animals identified by the OV/AWO as being in distress shall be segregated and dealt with in accordance with a documented SOP for casualty pigs. 

5.4.13 Pigs considered by the OV/AWO to require emergency slaughter shall be excluded from the BMPA Pig Welfare, Slaughter, and Biosecurity module. Records shall be kept demonstrating the control and segregation of pigs excluded from the charter.

5.4.14 The site shall operate a system for the recording and reporting back to producers where the cleanliness and/or condition of pigs is considered unsatisfactory. Persistent offenders shall be reported to the appropriate assurance scheme by the abattoir.

5.4.15 The site shall grade the pigs on cleanliness at the point of arrival to ensure they are fit for slaughter

5.4.16 After unloading, the pigs shall be held in clean pens. 

5.4.17 Pigs from different farms shall not be mixed but sub-division is permissible.

5.4.18 Records shall be maintained of all deliveries and the lairage pens to which the pigs have been allocated.


5.4.1 to 5.4.2 The site shall have in place a system that can measure the angle between the tail ramp and the unloading facilities. Further guidance can be obtained by reference to the Red Tractor Farm Assurance Transport Scheme. The animal welfare officer is responsible for monitoring livestock vehicles against the transport checklist (see Appendix 2).

5.4.3 to 5.4.8 Livestock vehicles would normally arrive within 30 minutes of their planned arrival time. The scope of the documented risk assessment shall have considered potential welfare issues arising from unscheduled delivery times e.g. weather conditions or unforeseen road traffic management controls e.g. accident. 

5.4.9 to 5.4.10 Procedures shall be in place to ensure that legislation and industry standards are being met.

5.4.11 to 5.4.13 Traceability of excluded pork raw material shall be retained.

5.4.14 to 5.4.15 Records of communication to the producer shall be retained. The report to the producer shall include a requirement of the producer to instigate immediate corrective action and a system for continual monitoring. The producer shall be expected to report/liaise with the abattoir.


5.4.1 to 5.4.2 Records of measurements and examples of transport checklists since the last audit. Where applicable, any non-conformances raised since the last audit shall be accompanied by evidence of correspondence to RTA and the BMPA service provider.

5.4.3 to 5.4.8 The auditor shall require verification from the charter participant of the planned arrival system used including the welfare advice given to the livestock vehicle drivers. Copy of risk assessment study and records of welfare monitoring. Records relating to the time the livestock vehicle arrived at the security point at the site to the unloading of the last pig at the lairage, and the system by which drivers notify sites of any delays should be reviewed.

5.4.9 to 5.4.10 Visual inspection. Examples of records since the last audit.

5.4.11 to 5.4.13 Animals may display signs of distress such as reluctance to move and panting. As the competent individual, the OV/AWO will make the decision whether the animal is too stressed to move and therefore requires immediate killing and exclusion from the charter, or whether it may be moved to an isolation pen to recover prior to slaughter and processing in the usual manner. Review of staff training records. List of casualties and traceability records. Review SOP for dealing with casualty pigs and their exclusion from the charter.

5.4.14 to 5.4.15 Visual inspection of pigs on arrival, using a grading system such as 1-5 based on photographic standards. Examples of monitoring records. 

5.4.16 to 5.4.18 Examples of lairage intake records and verification of system of allocating pigs to pens and any sub-divisions that may have occurred. Records should be sampled.