Netherlands: Pig Slaughter – CO2 And Other Stun Methods. Time To Review.

Netherlands

Dear contacts from EU and Member State inspection-offices, livestock industry players, animal-welfare and meat-quality scientists, supermarkets and fellow NGOs,

A few years ago you may remember that Eyes on Animals made a film ( https://youtu.be/adtjQDW9rVE ) comparing the advantages and disadvantages of using CO2 or electricity to stun pigs.  We made this short film because more and more pig slaughterhouses were switching from electric stunning to CO2 gas saying that it was better for animal welfare because it avoided the pigs having to move into a single file.  With a CO2 system they can move in groups which pigs prefer.  Indeed, in electric-stunning pig slaughterhouses there is usually a lot of stress and impatience at the point when pigs are moved from a group into the single file raceway leading them to the head and heart stunner.

However, we never felt comfortable about the use of CO2 to stun pigs, as the high concentrations needed are very painful for the pigs to breathe in; they struggle (often violently) and unconsciousness is not immediate but takes approx 10-40 seconds. We were concerned that more and more plants were investing millions and millions of euro´s and dollars switching to CO2-systems meanwhile the EFSA report had even admitted CO2 is not a very humane option and it needs to be re-discussed and eventually replaced.

For us, the use of CO2 gas has no potential to be considered the more humane choice because no matter how much movement to the gondola and lift was eased, inhaling CO2 remains aversive and painful. For us there was a clear need to investigate other new options to render pigs unconscious in a faster and more humane way.

But it also made us realize that not much effort was put into improving the design of the electric system before switching to CO2. After all, correctly applied electric stunning is much quicker and less painful than inhaling CO2.  Why wasn´t more effort put into improving the design of the single-file raceway in the electric slaughterhouses first?

Dr. Temple Grandin had even published drawings of how to do this over 20 years ago.  Drawings of a corral-shaped raceway where pigs moved in a circular motion and with a side-step, never a funnel, to avoid bottle-necks.

Due to pressure from grocery stores to switch to CO2 and the economic advantages CO2-stunning offers to meat quality, ideas to improve electric-stunning systems went largely ignored and cO2 has now become the norm.

Nevertheless, recently Eyes on Animals went in search of a pig slaughterhouse that adopted a corral-shaped raceway and modified other parts of their design to make electric stunning systems less difficult to move pigs through and we found one finally- Thönes Natur Verbund in Germany.

Please find attached to this email (link below) our report of our visit of this slaughterhouse and here is a short film showing the pigs being moved through the corral-shaped double-entrance raceway.  Indeed it was a small slaughterhouse, but there is no reason why larger plants cannot take this idea seriously by installing several raceways.

Ext_Thönes Natur-Verbund slaughterhouse_DE_ 30.11.2015_Pigs_Final (1)

It is highly likely that CO2 will be phased out and made illegal in the near future. The future means a brand new stunning-method that is not aversive to inhale. But in the meantime, for pig slaughterhouses wishing to switch over to CO2, why not wait and first improve your electric-stunning raceway and then make the big switch when a humaner gas is finally available?

Short film:  https://youtu.be/lasVRGdmz1o

With best wishes,

Lesley Moffat


Lesley Moffat, MSc Ethology
Eyes on Animals – Director

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“I just want to eat meat, for which no animal was tortured,” a student said when he and his fellows visited the “innovative” slaughterhouse “Thönes Natur Verbund”.
Is such a thing possible?
I mean, no!
As long as people eat meat, animals will be tormented.
This know also experienced activists, as the people of “Eyes on Animals” whose work I greatly appreciate.
They also know that if we want less suffering, achieve less anguish for our “livestock”, we cannot act with the mentality of black or white.
In between, there are a few shades that we have to find and use.
And in this regard, the organization “Eyes on Animals” has done a very good job.
But even if animals in slaughterhouses suffer less in the future, we must not sleep with a clear conscience and believe that we have the right to eat animals when they are slaughtered animal friendly.
Not only the conditions in slaughter houses must be better.
This extremely meat oriented society should evolve also.
Be finally a meatless society.
A full empathy society.
If we put equal to animals and humans, then is (and remains) slaughter a murder. Then…

Would we torture people a lifelong in factory farming?
Would we stun humans in slaughterhouses with bolt gun in order to better slaughter them?
Would we transport people for days without food or water?

The answer is NO!
And therefore we cannot do the same to other sentient beings.
As long as this society continues meat consumption, the more important is the struggle of the animal organizations for a better life of the animals in the modern concentration camps.
But even more important is the education of this society about the operation of a bloody meat industry that solely preserves the meat man.
Venus

 

 

2 Responses

  1. It is immoral to kill animals by any way, and by any reason ,and meat . milk,eggs are not human food ( choline,cholesterol, TMAO : kill humans ).We all are Erthlings , with equally right to live , nothing else.

  2. “I just want to eat meat, for which no animal was tortured,” a student said when he and his fellows visited the “innovative” slaughterhouse “Thönes Natur Verbund”.
    Is such a thing possible?
    I mean, no!
    As long as people eat meat, animals will be tormented.
    This know also experienced activists, as the people of “Eyes on Animals” whose work I greatly appreciate.
    They also know that if we want less suffering, achieve less anguish for our “livestock”, we cannot act with the mentality of black or white.
    In between, there are a few shades that we have to find and use.
    And in this regard, the organization “Eyes on Animals” has done a very good job.
    But even if animals in slaughterhouses suffer less in the future, we must not sleep with a clear conscience and believe that we have the right to eat animals when they are slaughtered animal friendly.
    Not only the conditions in slaughter houses must be better.
    This extremely meat oriented society should evolve also.
    Be finally a meatless society.
    A full empathy society.
    If we put equal to animals and humans, then is (and remains) slaughter a murder. Then…

    Would we torture people a lifelong in factory farming?
    Would we stun humans in slaughterhouses with bolt gun in order to better slaughter them?
    Would we transport people for days without food or water?

    The answer is NO!
    And therefore we cannot do the same to other sentient beings.
    As long as this society continues meat consumption, the more important is the struggle of the animal organizations for a better life of the animals in the modern concentration camps.
    But even more important is the education of this society about the operation of a bloody meat industry that solely preserves the meat man.
    Venus

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