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current EU rules on animal slaughter are, in many respects, outdated.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
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
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