EU sets new slaughterhouse rules

The European Commission says new legislation is needed to improve animal welfare at European slaughterhouses, reports the BBC.

According to the commission, current EU rules on animal slaughter are, in many respects, outdated. However, under a new proposal, abattoirs would have to ensure proper training of staff and monitor the efficiency of their stunning equipment. Additionally, each slaughterhouse should have an animal welfare officer.

The proposal still requires approval by all 27 EU governments, and the new legislation will not take effect until it is approved by the European Parliament and the ministries concerned, which could take up to 3 years.

But current stunning methods would not be banned, including the "waterbath stunner" used for poultry, "despite its welfare disadvantages", the commission said. The use of CO2 to kill animals would still be allowed, despite the concerns expressed by scientists. The commission says there is a lack of commercially viable alternatives to those methods of slaughter.

The new proposal defines the scope of stunning and slaughter methods more strictly and states that gas stunning of birds must be irreversible. "Stunned animals will have to be regularly monitored to ensure they do not regain consciousness before slaughter," the commission says.

Third countries exporting meat to the EU would have to meet similar standards, but smaller slaughterhouses will be exempt from some of the provisions.

Where the poultry industry is concerned, the proposal also covers the killing of male day-old chicks and culling for disease control purposes.


Click here to receive World Poultry's Free Newsletter

Editor WorldPoultry

Or register to be able to comment.