How to get the required licensing to slaughter animals in a meat establishment.
Certificate of Competence
As the UK has left the EU, a Certificate of Competence (CoC) issued anywhere other than in the UK is no longer valid and cannot be accepted to carry out duties in approved slaughterhouses.
Citizens from the Republic of Ireland (ROI) can apply for a UK CoC upon application to WATOK@food.gov.uk with details of their current ROI CoC, and the appropriate fee. A UK CoC will be issued on an equivalence basis for the same species and operations
Why you need one
You need a Certificate of Competence (CoC) from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to do any of the following in an FSA-approved slaughterhouse:
- handle animals before they’re restrained
- restrain animals for stunning or killing
- stun animals
- check stunning has worked
- shackle or hoisting live animals
- bleed live animals
- religious slaughter
- pithing of a stunned animal
- check pithing has worked
What it will cover
Your CoC must cover each type of animal you work with and each operation that you carry out.
If you stun animals, your CoC must cover the different types of equipment you use.
If you need to add more operations or types of animal to your CoC, you must get a temporary CoC and complete training and assessment for the additional operation or animal.
You need a full or temporary CoC if you do any of the following:
- handle animals before restraining them
- kill an animal with a free bullet for human consumption
- shackle poultry
Temporary Certificate of Competence
A temporary Certificate of Competence (CoC) will allow you to work under the direct supervision of a full CoC holder for the species and operations you are carrying out.
Evidence of registration must be provided to the OV to allow the temporary CoC to be issued.
This certificate is valid for three months from date of issue. You must undertake and successfully pass an assessment from an accredited provider to be awarded a qualification certificate.
This qualification certificate is required for a CoC be issued.
You can apply for a re-issue of the temporary certificate for three months after the previous one has run out if you are unable to complete the assessment due to circumstances outside of your control. You can do this through the OV in the slaughterhouse.
England and Wales
If you have any questions related to our issuing of TCoC and CoC please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone carrying out certain slaughter operations involving live animals up to the point of death (not unconsciousness) must hold a Certificate of Competence, under the Welfare of Animals at Time of Killing (WATOK) regulations
How to apply
This webpage provides information on the licence or certificate you need to slaughter or kill animals, the operations covered, and the application process.
When your CoC or licence can be revoked or suspended
The FSA can cancel or temporarily suspend your CoC or Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (WATOK) licence if you do not follow WATOK regulations.
Appeals in England and Wales
A decision made by the FSA in England and Wales to refuse, suspend or revoke a CoC can be appealed.
The appeal system entitles you to make written representations to and be heard by the General Regulatory Chamber First Tier Tribunal.
To do this you need to use the Ministry of Justice form T98 and send it within 28 days of the decision.
You will need to send the appeals form to:
General Regulatory Chamber
HM Courts and Tribunals Service
PO Box 9300
Leicester LE1 6ZX
Published: 14 December 2017
Last updated: 30 November 2023