EU to change stunning, slaughter methods

23-06-2009 | |

Across the European Union, slaughterhouses will need to change the way they stun and kill millions of cattle, pigs and poultry.

This conclusion has come after farm ministers agreed on stricter rules and to better animal protection. According to a report by, welfare and safety rules on how this may be carried out date from 1993 and, experts say, and are in dire need of an adjustment.

Updated criteria
As from January 2013, stunning and killing criteria for slaughterhouses will be updated, and the general parameters for using electricity to render the animal unconscious, for example, or gas for birds, more concretely defined.

Also, slaughterhouses will also have to have a specific person who is responsible for animal welfare and to ensure all staff are trained and certified. Carbon dioxide for pigs and poultry, for example, may still be used and waterbath stunners for poultry will remain permitted.

“We have a duty to take care of animals. Their welfare is crucial, not only for ethical reasons but also to ensure animal health and the quality of food,” EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said.

The report further stated that the updated rules will not place a ban on any major method of stunning, but the use of certain techniques will be limited.