27/01/2009

EU Proposal To 'Create Level Playing Field' For Welfare At Slaughter

A proposal that will ensure all animals across Europe are protected at the time of slaughter will be subject to comprehensive consultation, Farming Minister Jane Kennedy said today.

The EU proposal focuses on ensuring there’s a level playing field with respect to welfare standards for animals killed in a slaughterhouse, on a farm or for disease management purposes.

The proposal, which covers all animals including poultry and fish, but not reptiles and amphibians, also focuses on disease management purposes and ensure they’re spared avoidable suffering.

Also under the proposal, all animals except for fish would need to be killed by a method that leads to instant death or death after stunning. However, the proposal would include an exemption to allow slaughter to be carried out in accordance with religious rites without prior stunning, in line with current practice in the UK.

Ms Kennedy said: "Sending animals to slaughter is an understandably emotive issue. It's important there are good regulations in place to protect animals and defend their welfare throughout their lives.

"These proposals will ensure that any animal being killed on farm, in a slaughterhouse, or for disease purposes across Europe will be spared any avoidable pain or distress at the time of slaughter and that British farmers, who are already applying high standards of welfare, are competing on a level playing field."

The proposed regulation will cover stunning and killing methods, the construction layout and operation methods for slaughterhouses, as well as allow businesses to tailor their own standard operation procedures to suit their individual circumstances.

(JM/BMcC)

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