Improving of animal treatment at time of slaughter

by Editor
Wednesday, July 01, 2009

 Conditions for animals at the time of killing will improve considerably as of January 1, 2013, when a regulation, adopted by the Council and providing for a series of practical measures to ensure animals are humanely treated, enters into force.

To simplify existing legislation and bring it into line with food hygiene regulations, the proposal integrates welfare considerations into the design of slaughterhouses and requires the regular monitoring of the efficiency of stunning techniques. Every year, nearly 360 million pigs, sheep, goats and cattle as well as several billion poultry are killed in EU slaughterhouses for their meat. In addition, about 25 million animals are killed for their fur. The control of contagious diseases may also require the culling of thousands to millions of other animals.

The new regulation provides that slaughterhouses will have to appoint a specific person responsible for animal welfare and ensure that their staff is properly trained and certified. Each operator will have to develop and implement standard operating procedures for ensuring proper welfare standards in a reliable way. Such a methodology is not new for slaughterhouses as it is already required and in place for food safety (the so-called Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point or HACCP system). Requiring standardised procedures for animal welfare is an innovation of this regulation, which will require operators to evaluate the efficiency of their stunning methods through animal based indicators. After stunning animals will have to be regularly monitored to ensure they do not regain consciousness before slaughter.