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Safety First: Proper Usage and Maintenance of Matador Humane Killers

11th October 2023

Matador Humane Killers were first introduced into the meat industry in the early 20th century. The exact introduction year is unclear, but it is known that the first humane killer was invented by a British veterinarian named William T. Clover in 1903. 

Since then, these devices have been widely used in the meat industry to provide a quick and painless method of slaughter for animals. 

Today, Matador Humane Killers are used in many countries around the world and have become an essential tool in the meat processing industry. They are used to slaughter various types of animals, such as:

  • Cattle
  • Pigs
  • Sheep, among others. 

Due to their effectiveness and humane nature, they have replaced the traditional method of slaughter, which involved the use of a knife. This is not only humane, but for the industry, it has sped up the process and helped massively increase workflow and profit margins. 

Training and Safety

It is highly recommended to undergo training provided by a qualified professional. This will ensure that you are using the tool correctly and provide valuable information on identifying potential hazards and avoiding accidents. 

Always remember that safety should be the top priority when handling Humane Killers. By following these guidelines, you can ensure the safety of yourself and those around you while using these powerful tools.

DAFM in Ireland

In Ireland, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) regulates the use of Matador Humane Killers in slaughterhouses or abattoirs. The DAFM is responsible for ensuring that all slaughterhouses and abattoirs adhere to strict guidelines and regulations regarding the use of humane killers.

The DAFM has outlined specific training requirements for individuals who will be using Matador Humane Killers. These training requirements include a comprehensive theoretical and practical training course, which covers the correct use of the tool, maintenance procedures, and safety protocols.

Upon completion of the training course, individuals must pass a written and practical exam to obtain a Certificate of Competence. The DAFM issues this certificate, and is valid for five years. After five years, individuals are required to undergo a refresher course and re-sit the exam to renew their certificate.

In addition to the training requirements, the DAFM conducts regular inspections of slaughterhouses and abattoirs to ensure that they comply with all regulations and guidelines. Any non-compliance issues are addressed immediately, and the DAFM may suspend or revoke a slaughterhouse’s license if necessary.

Overall, the DAFM plays a crucial role in regulating the use of Matador Humane Killers in Ireland and ensuring that all individuals who handle these tools are properly trained and certified.

Usage and Maintenance

Proper usage and maintenance of Matador Humane Killers is of utmost importance in ensuring safety at all times. Humane Killers are designed to end the life of an animal in a quick and painless manner, but it is important to note that improper handling can result in serious injury or death. 

To ensure the safe and effective use of Matador Humane Killers, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. This includes understanding the correct positioning of the tool, the amount of force required, and the proper maintenance procedures. Something that the industry is now taking very seriously, especially here in Ireland. 

The Industry Moving Forward

Since the introduction of Matador Humane Killers into the meat industry, there have been significant changes in how animals are slaughtered. 

Before the invention of humane killers, animals were typically slaughtered slowly and painfully. The introduction of humane killers provided a more humane and efficient method of slaughter.

Over time, improvements have been made to their design and function. The tools have become more advanced, with better safety features and more precise methods of delivering the killing blow. These improvements have resulted in a more humane and efficient process of animal slaughter.


Another significant change in the industry is the growing demand for more humane and sustainable methods of animal slaughter. This has led to the development of alternative methods, such as CO2 stunning, electrical stunning, and controlled atmosphere killing. These methods aim to minimise stress and pain for the animal, resulting in a more humane and ethical process of slaughter.


The introduction of Matador Humane Killers has significantly improved the meat industry’s animal slaughter process. Advances in technology, training, and alternative methods have all contributed to a more humane and sustainable approach to animal slaughter. With more money piling into research and development for many areas of meat processing, we can only see further advancements on the horizon.