Skip to main content

Slaughter licensing

How to get the required licensing to slaughter animals in a meat establishment.
Last updated

Certificate of Competence

Certificates of Competence during COVID-19 outbreak restrictions

The FSA has reviewed the previous guidance issued on 26th March 2020 regarding Temporary Certificates of Competence (TCoC) extensions and, with COVID-19 restrictions in place, have agreed to extend the provision for 'exceptional circumstances' to 31st March 2021. 

Our procedures for Certificates of Competence (CoCs) and TCoCs (particularly extensions and reapplications) during the COVID-19 outbreak have been considered and for the next six months to 31st March 2021 the following arrangements will apply. These will be reviewed, amended or extended as needed.

  • The requirements to obtain an initial TCoC remain the same – evidence of registration must be provided to the Official Veterinarian (OV) to allow the TCoC to be issued.
  • The duration of the TCoC remains the same – the certificate is valid for three months from the date of issue.
  • The procedure for extension requests remains the same – apply for a re-issue of the TCoC for a duration of three months after the previous one has run out, by applying to the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (WATOK) team at .
  • When considering connected extension requests because the TCoC holder has been unable to undertake a full CoC assessment, the requirement of Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009, Article 21(5)(d) – 'The competent authority may issue temporary certificates of competence provided that: (d) the applicant provides a written declaration stating that he/she has not previously been issued another temporary certificate of competence of the same scope or demonstrates to the satisfaction of the competent authority that he/she was unable to take the final examination' shall be considered to be met and the extension should be granted as soon as possible.
  • Where a TCoC holder was unable to take a final examination and chose not to extend the TCoC, exceptional circumstances will apply and this would not prevent another application for a TCoC of the same scope.  These applications will still be considered on a case by case basis but on successful completion of the relevant ‘fit and proper’ checks the TCoC should be issued as soon as possible.
  • Regarding full CoCs, there may be a delay in issuing CoC cards so to make clear, a plant operative may work unattended if they have passed their full CoC assessment, have received confirmation from the assessor and can demonstrate it to the OV.
  • We have confirmed with Defra Welfare Team that there can be no exception to the requirement for a TCoC holder to work 'in the presence and under the direct supervision of another person who holds a certificate of competence issued for the specific activity to be undertaken'.
  • If you have any questions related to our issuing of TCoC and CoC please contact

Anyone carrying out certain slaughter operations must hold a Certificate of Competence, under the WATOK Regulations.

Temporary Certificates of Competence

A TCoC 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 ​TCoC 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. You can do this through the OV in the slaughterhouse.

How to apply

You can apply for a certificate of competence or licence to slaughter or kill animals.

This webpage provides information on the licence or certificate you need to slaughter or kill animals, the operations covered, and the application process.

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