Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Defra to fund research into pig stunning methods
Pig
Research shows that pigs find direct exposure to CO2 aversive.
Project to develop more humane methods of slaughter

Research into alternatives to the use of carbon dioxide for the commercial slaughter of pigs will be jointly funded by Defra, it has been announced.

The Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) and Defra are offering up to £400,000 for a project to develop a more humane ways to stun pigs at slaughter.

It is common practice for pigs to be exposed to high concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) before slaughter, particularly in the UK and other EU member states.

But research shows that pigs find direct exposure to CO2 aversive. In 2003, a report published by the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) recommended that this method should be phased out.

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. The HSA said that similar concerns expressed for poultry and alternative controlled atmosphere systems are now in use within the poultry industry.

Defra and the HSA said that they are both committed to improving the welfare of animals at slaughter and the funding aims to develop a more humane method which could replace high-concentration CO2 stunning of pigs.

They add that 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.

“The HSA hopes that this collaborative funding opportunity with Defra will lead to improvements in the welfare of pigs at the time of slaughter,” commented HSA’s chief executive & scientific director Dr Robert Hubrecht.

Welcoming the announcement, the National Pig Association (NPA) said it was pleased funding has been made available for research into new methods.

NPA senior policy advisor Georgina Crayford said: “We also welcome HSA’s acknowledgement that new methods need to be commercially viable to ensure roll out but, until an alternative is found, CO2 stunning remains best practice.”

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

New app to improve street dog welfare

News Story 1
 A new free app will support vital work in clinics caring for stray dogs around the world, experts say. Created by the University of Edinburgh, the tool allows vets to track the wellbeing of dogs going through catch-neuter-return schemes, which are common in countries with large numbers of strays.

Vets say the welfare of individual dogs can be overlooked during the process of capture, transport or surgery. The app, piloted across Asia and Africa, helps staff to monitor welfare, spot signs of distress and develop strategies to improve care. It was launched at BSAVA Congress on Friday 6 April.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Farm to fork traceability championed in new service

Defra has created a new information service to offer farm to fork traceability when the UK leaves the EU. The Livestock Information Service, which is set to be operational from 2019, will identify and track animal movements via electronic IDs, meaning the industry and government are better placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “This service will be instrumental in improving traceability and providing guarantees to consumers about the origin of their food. NFU President Minette Batters, among others, has helped lead the way on this, showing how it will drive a progressive and vibrant livestock industry once we leave the EU.”