Table of Contents

1. Overview

Natural progression from live animal to carcass to meat:

    • Animals are transported, offloaded and kept for slaughter in a manner that does not involve unnecessary pain.
    • Clean water is provided continuously.
    • Depending on the time they have to wait for slaughtering, food, in accordance with their needs, is provided.
    • The animals are handled in a humane way at all times.
    • Inspectors perform an ante mortem examination to determine if the animals are healthy and ready for slaughtering.
    • Sick animals are isolated and dead animals are disposed of by an acceptable method which may include rendering, burning or denaturation.
    • Care is taken that only meat from healthy animals reaches the consumer.
    • All animals are inspected to determine whether they have any latent diseases.
    • A routine meat inspection is done on the carcass and offal of each animal by trained meat inspectors.
Photo used courtesy of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)
  •  Carcasses are now classified. Meat is classified to provide the consumer information relating to the age and fat thickness on the carcass.
  • After final approval, the carcasses are chilled immediately to stop germs/micro organisms from multiplying or causing accidental contamination. Meat is now kept cold and the temperature is kept constant until the product reaches the consumer. (It is important not to break the cold chain from after slaughtering until the meat is cooked and consumed).
  • During the entire process, hands are washed regularly, instruments are sterilised (boiled) and clean protective clothes are worn daily.
  • All surfaces coming into contact with meat are cleaned and sanitized on a routine basis.
  • The health care of the workers handling the meat is a high priority to eliminate problems with regard to germs/micro organisms or contagious diseases that can be transmitted to the meat.
  • A great effort is made to make certain that meat leaving the abattoir is clean, safe, nutritious and in a wholesome condition to ensure a relatively long shelf life.

The Red Meat Abattoir Association (RMAA) has compiled a summary document containing the laws, regulations and codes regarding animal welfare – handling and transportation of livestock. Please contact them for information. Write to marketing [at] or call 012 349 1237/8/9.

Animal welfare

National Society Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA)

Veterinarian: vet [at]

"How many abattoirs adhere to the clauses that animals must not experience unnecessary pain, have continuous access to clean H20 and be provided with food if kept for longer periods of time?" This is among the questions asked by meat inspectors and the NSPCA.