Advice from BuRO on the Mobile Slaughter Unit pilot project in the north of the Netherlands

Define a better set of work protocols and preconditions for the deployment of a Mobile Slaughter Unit (MSU) in the Netherlands. The MSU is used by a slaughterhouse on a farm to kill animals that are fit for slaughter, but not fit for transport. The protocols and preconditions are necessary to better protect animal welfare, animal health and food safety.

Explanation advice

The Office for Risk Assessment & Research (BuRO) advises the Inspector-General of the NVWA as follows:

  • Use the experiences that have been gained during the MSU pilot and from this risk assessment to define and establish a better set of working protocols and framework conditions and recommend to the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality that this be formally laid down.
  • Draft specific framework conditions for each type of domestic animal and feral animal for which an MSU or mobile slaughterhouse is used.
  • Monitor the high-risk group of animals in routine transport and those of the MSU periodically for the use of analgesic products.

The Mobile Slaughter Unit (MSU)

The MSU is intended to be used on farm for animals that are not fit for transport. The carcass is then taken to a slaughterhouse for further processing.

Reason for advice

Since December 2018, an NVWA pilot with the Mobile Slaughter Unit (MSU) for cattle in the Northern Netherlands region has been running. In the spring of 2019, discussions arose within and outside the NVWA whether the risks of animal welfare, food safety and animal health would be insufficiently safeguarded using the MSU. At the end of September 2019, the Inspector-General of the NVWA asked the Office for Risk Assessment & Research (BuRO) to carry out a risk assessment of the MSU pilot on animal health, animal welfare and food safety.