The Humane Slaughter Association and the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) are jointly offering up to £400,000 of research funding for a project to develop a more humane way to stun pigs during commercial slaughter.
The stunning of pigs by direct exposure to high concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) is currently common practice for the commercial slaughter of pigs. The use of CO2 in high concentration is permitted under EU and national regulations and this method is used in the UK as well as other EU member states.
However, research has shown that pigs find direct exposure to high concentrations of CO2 aversive. In 2003, the Farm Animal Welfare Council’s (FAWC) report on animal welfare recommended that this method should be phased out. The following year, a report by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirmed the effectiveness of the method, but noted that it resulted in respiratory distress in pigs. Similar concerns were expressed for poultry and alternative controlled atmosphere systems are now in use within the poultry industry.
The HSA and Defra are both committed to improving the welfare of animals at slaughter and the funding aims to develop and or validate a more humane method which could replace high-concentration CO2 stunning of pigs. The project aims to ensure that any proposed method is not only more humane but also practically and economically viable so that it is likely to be widely adopted by the pig industry.
Wednesday July 12, 2017/ HSA/ United Kingdom.