New provisions for non-emergency slaughter of food animals on producer premises

Process summary for certified examiners

Ontario's Meat Regulation (O. Reg. 31/05 under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001) has been changed to provide options for cattle and pig producers who want to slaughter animals on their farm and have the carcasses processed off the farm. This processing must be conducted in a provincially licensed slaughter plant or provincially licensed free standing meat plant. The products can only be consumed by the producers and their immediate family on the premises where the animal was slaughtered. Products cannot be sold, shared, donated or distributed.

How it works for certified examiners

The process required under the regulation is designed to help producers ensure their animals are slaughtered humanely and in hygienic conditions, and that the resulting carcasses are fit to enter a meat plant thus preventing contamination of the plant.

An examiner certified for non-emergency, on-farm slaughter may provide stunning, slaughter and dressing services, and must perform ante mortem and post mortem examinations and ensure humane animal handling and sanitary dressing. Producers may also conduct the stunning, slaughter and dressing processes themselves if they wish, under the supervision of a certified examiner.

Producers can still slaughter and process carcasses on farm without the supervision or use of an examiner as long as the meat does not leave the premises and is consumed only by the producers and their immediate family.

To become certified to perform an on-farm slaughter under this new provision

Individuals interested in becoming a certified examiner must:

    • Submit an application
    • Take the theoretical training
    • Pass theoretical training exam
    • Take the practical training
    • Pass practical exam

Certified examiners should be aware that:

    • Certification expires on December 31 every second year and examiners must apply for renewal; update courses may be required for renewal.

    • Examiners must carry out their functions in accordance with the regulations and will be subject to ongoing oversight by OMAFRA.

    • Certificates may be suspended or revoked by an OMAFRA Director.

Once certified, examiners are issued an examination stamp with a unique number. Their name, city of residence and phone number will be included on OMAFRA's list of certified examiners, which will be posted on the website. Examiners can then be contacted by producers to perform the required examinations and either supervise or conduct the slaughter process on-farm.

Examiners are responsible for the following:

On slaughter day, on the producer's premises:

  • Fill out Parts 2, 3 and 4 of the Non-Emergency Slaughter Examination Record.

  • Examine the animal (ante mortem examination) and either approve it or refuse it for post mortem examination; the examiner must, in some specific cases, refer it to an OMAFRA regional veterinarian and place the animal on hold.

  • Follow any instructions received from the regional veterinarian or veterinary inspector.

  • Conduct bovine aging, during the ante mortem or post mortem examination.

  • Stun the animal to render it unconscious (mechanical penetrating device or rifle are the only permitted options) or supervise the stunning by the producer. Ensure this is done in an effective, humane and hygienic manner.

  • Slaughter the animal immediately or supervise the slaughter by the producer. Ensure this is done in a humane and hygienic manner.

  • Verify or complete bovine aging, if not completed during ante mortem examination.

  • Dress the carcass or supervise dressing by the producer. This includes removing the head, respiratory, digestive, reproductive and urinary systems, including the kidneys and other thoracic and abdominal organs.

  • Examine the dressed carcass (post mortem examination) immediately after slaughter and dressing. This includes an examination of the whole carcass and organs, including incision of required lymph nodes. Based on this assessment either :

  • determine that the carcass is fit to enter a meat plant and:
    • stamp the carcass with the examination stamp;
    • attach a numbered leg band; and
    • prepare a certificate to enter a meat plant.


  • Refuse entry of the carcass into a meat plant and must, under specific situations, refer the carcass to the regional veterinarian and place the carcass on hold. In this case, the examiner will not stamp the carcass, attach a leg band or complete the certificate.

Once slaughter, dressing and examination processes are completed and the carcass is approved to enter a meat plant:

  • Prepare the carcass for transport to the meat plant.

  • Transport the carcass to the selected, approved meat plant. This can also be done by the producer. All transport requirements must be followed. Carcasses or parts of carcasses must :
    • be transported to a provincially licensed meat plant approved by an OMAFRA regional veterinarian to receive on-farm slaughtered carcasses
    • have a stamp, leg bands and certificate
    • be transported in a clean, leak-proof container
    • be securely fastened to container
    • be protected from contaminants
    • not be exposed to public view, and
    • if the hide has been removed, be washed and wrapped in a material that is durable, free of contaminants and suitable for packaging food products (for example, plastic food wrap).

  • Retain a record of slaughter for 12 months and provide the records to OMAFRA upon request.


Certified examiners should be aware of the following:

  • Examiners are not employees of OMAFRA. They are independent individual members of the public. Producers can become examiners. Inspectors appointed under the Food Safety and Quality Act, 2001 are prohibited from becoming examiners.

  • Certified examiners set their own fees.

  • Only bovine animals under 30 months of age (UTM) and porcine animals are eligible to enter a meat plant under this provision.

  • Non-emergency, on-farm slaughter must be conducted humanely and in hygienic condition

  • Farmers may decide that they no longer want to send the carcass of an animal to a meat plant, and may opt out of the process at any point except:
    • from the time the animal is presented for ante mortem to the conclusion of the ante mortem examination; and
    • from the time the carcass is presented for post mortem to the conclusion of the post mortem examination; and
    • for the need to comply with any decision or orders that are made in connection with ante and post mortem examinations, including any orders for condemnation.

  • As a result of the examination process, the carcass may have to be condemned for food safety reasons.

  • A farm slaughtered carcass can only be transported to an approved, provincially licensed meat plant. Products processed from a farm slaughtered carcass can only be transported back to the producer's premises where the animal was slaughtered.

  • All products must be for consumption by the producer and their immediate family on the producer's premise where the animal was slaughtered. OMAFRA will monitor the number of animals slaughtered per producer and per farm under this provision. Products cannot be sold, shared or donated.

  • Producers are responsible for verifying the availability of their selected plant, as plants are only allowed to accept on-farm slaughtered carcasses up to a total of 16 weeks per year: a maximum of four weeks during the spring period (March 1 to April 30) and a maximum of 12 weeks during the fall period (September 1 to December 31).

  • Certified examiners are permitted to slaughter or supervise slaughter of any bovine or porcine animal on the producer's premise outside of the specified timeframes, however, these carcasses are not permitted to enter a meat plant and must stay on the producer's premises, for the producer's and their immediate family's consumption.

  • Records must be kept by examiners and provided to OMAFRA upon request.

For additional information, or to obtain an application package for certified examiner training, visit OMAFRA's website.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-888-466-2372 ext 6-4230
Local: (519) 826-4230
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 24 April 2008
Last Reviewed: 24 April 2008