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Novel and humane gaseous killing methods for pigs - MH0128

The objective of this project is to perform a series of experiments such that sound scientific data will become available to facilitate the development of a novel and humane gaseous killing system for pigs. In addition, the data will facilitate effective monitoring and ensuring welfare of pigs at slaughter. The existing electrical and carbon dioxide stun / kill systems are not conducive to maintaining high animal welfare standards at slaughter. As an alternative, stunning pigs with anoxia and inducing cardiac ventricular fibrillation (CVF) to cause death has been proposed. Ideally, such a system should incorporate some general animal welfare principles proposed by the FAWC:(1) Pigs should be maintained in a stable social group with the minimum of restraint; (2) Pre-slaughter handling facilities should be designed to minimise stress; (3) The gas used to induce unconsciousness should be non-aversive; (4) All pigs should be rendered rapidly unconscious in the gas;(5) An irreversible state of unconsciousness must be reached in all pigs prior to sticking; and, (6) There should be adequate monitoring of the system and efficient evacuation in the event of any system failure. Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) report on the Welfare of Farmed Animals at Slaughter or Killing (Red Meat Animals) also made a recommendation that the use of carbon dioxide should be phased out in the UK over the next five years. This recommendation could only be implemented when a potential humane alternative stun/ kill method becomes available. ‘Studies to develop novel and humane gaseous killing methods for pigs’ is also one of the research requirements (R7) published recently by DEFRA. The results of scientific studies will be published in peer-reviewed journals. During the lifetime of the project, industry will be invited to benefit from the research findings and develop necessary equipment. Implementation of non-aversive gas mixtures for killing pigs will improve welfare of millions of pigs slaughtered for human consumption.
Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : MH0128 final report   (1030k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2005

To: 2010

Cost: £677,182
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Bristol
Animal Welfare              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Animal Welfare