A is for abbatoir

After much thought I have decided to go for the April A-Z blogging challenge again. This year I am looking at different aspects of legislation which have affected either Springhill and environs or the process of conducting a one-place study.

So, A is for abattoir.

In the late C19 there were two slaughterhouses in the Springhill area. One was part way down Dobbin Lane and appears to have closed in the first half of the 20th century. The second was along Newchurch Road just before Johnny Barn Farmhouse and was open until the 1980s.

Prior to 1974 this was subject to national law. Slaughterhouses had to renew their licence annually. Licensing was done by the Council and recorded in the minutes. Rawtenstall Borough Council minutes have regular annual entries renewing the license on the slaughterhouse at Johnny Barn.

In 1965, the British Government commissioned an investigation into the welfare of farmed animals and thereafter proposed that all animals should have freedom to stand up, lie down, turn around, groom themselves and stretch their limbs. These became known as the "Five Freedoms" 2 (Farm Animal Welfare Council, 2009). In 1993, the United Kingdom Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) decided that the original definitions concentrated too much on space requirements and on the comfort-seeking aspects of behaviour, to the exclusion of other relevant elements of animal welfare such as good food, good health and safety. (UN, http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i1907e/i1907e01.pdf)

The protection of animals at the time of slaughter or killing has been covered by European Community law since 1974. The first animal welfare legislation by the then-European Economic Community (EEC) dates to 1974 when Council Directive 74/577/EEC on the stunning of animals before slaughter included in its preamble the following language: "Whereas the Community should also take action to avoid in general all forms of cruelty to animals; whereas it appears desirable, as a first step, that this action should consist in laying down conditions such as to avoid all unnecessary suffering on the part of animals when being slaughtered".

Main areas of EEC law are summarised in:

http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/welfare/references_en.htm#ref93-119
Protection of animals at the time of slaughter and killing

- 88/306/EEC: Council Decision of 16 May 1988 on the conclusion of the European Convention for the Protection of Animals for Slaughter Official Journal L 137 , 02/06/1988 p. 0025 - 0026

- European Convention for the protection of animals for slaughter Official Journal L 137 , 02/06/1988 p. 0027 - 0038 pdf (64 KB) http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/welfare/references/slaughter/jour137_en.pdf actually dated 21st May 1979, updated 1988.


- Council Directive 93/119/EC of 22 December 1993 on the protection of animals at the time of slaughter or killing Official Journal L 340 , 31/12/1993 p. 0021 - 0034. These were implemented in Great Britain by the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) (WASK) Regulations 1995

- Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. These were implemented as The Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (England) (WATOK) 2013.


It is the 1988 documents which are of interest for Springhill as they led to the closure of the slaughterhouse. Its design did not meet specifications and it would cost too much to correct. They covered things like segregation, access to food and water, ability to lie down, cleaning... makes you wonder what it was like before.

For the really keen, the regulations are summarised here:
https://www.gov.uk/farm-animal-welfare-at-slaughter