Report launched into poultry welfare

The Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) has published a new report on the welfare of animals for white meat, which sets out six principles for humane slaughtering.

The publication, entitled ‘Report on the Welfare of Farmed Animals at Slaughter or Killing - Part Two: White Meat Animals’, has proposed six factors that need to be taken into consideration, including that all personnel involved with slaughter or killing must be trained, competent and caring and that only those animals that are fit should be caught, loaded and transported to the slaughterhouse.

FAWC chairman Professor Christopher Wathes said: “This report considers the welfare of poultry and other white meat species in the last few hours of their lives up to the moment of slaughter or killing. It deals with the experiences of poultry during catching and loading on the farm, the journey to the slaughterhouse, the wait in the lairage, unloading from transport containers, stunning and finally slaughter or killing.

"Since over 800m poultry are killed annually in Great Britain, there is a strong moral imperative to ensure that welfare is a prime consideration at all these stages.”

The report has emphasised that the responsibilities of slaughtermen and other workers are of grave importance and the need for training and compassion is paramount.

Other recommendations include that, prior to slaughter or killing an animal, it must be either rendered unconscious and insensible to pain instantaneously or unconsciousness must be induced without pain or distress and that all animals must not recover consciousness until death ensues.

Professor Wathes added: “I have no doubt at all that implementation of this report’s recommendations will lead to significant improvements in the welfare of poultry at slaughter or killing.”

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