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Killing and slaughtering animals

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Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

In order to be allowed to slaughter animals you must have proof of your expertise. Strict regulations apply to all actions.

If you want to kill or slaughter animals, strict regulations apply to all actions. You must have proof of your expertise and you must apply for recognition for your slaughterhouse.

You must ensure that the animals suffer as little (pain and trauma) as possible during transport, accommodation, securing, stunning, slaughtering, or killing. The room in which the slaughtering takes place and the instruments used, must meet the requirements referred to in the European regulation on the protection of animals at the time of killing (Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009).

Applying for recognition

You have to apply for recognition (in Dutch) of your slaughterhouse to the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit, NVWA).

Do you keep poultry or rabbits and do you slaughter in limited quantity on your own business premises? You may not need to apply for recognition (in Dutch). If you keep sheep or goats you can perform the slaughter outside of an abattoir if you adhere to strict conditions.

Religious slaughter

In the Netherlands, an animal must be stunned prior to slaughter. An exception to this rule is made for religious slaughter in accordance with religious rites (in Dutch). Religious slaughter, without stunning the animals prior to slaughter, is allowed only if:

  • it is performed in a recognised slaughterhouse (abattoir). You can apply for recognition (in Dutch) to the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit, NVWA).
  • an NVWA supervisor is in attendance
  • you comply with the legal requirements for slaughtering animals without stunning

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This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
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