Task 34 Killing

This task aims to set up a technical network of experts to support the development of improved standard operating procedures (SOPs) which will enable animal welfare officers (AWOs) to better implement the welfare requirements at slaughter and help Competent Authorities (CAs) assess compliance with the Council Regulation. For this purpose, a pilot technical network with scientific advisors from the UK, France, Sweden, The Netherlands and Spain was established. The first task of the network was to identify the main difficulties in implementing minimum electrical requirements for effective waterbath stunning in poultry, and in assessing unconsciousness after mechanical stunning in bovines, electrical stunning of lambs and poultry, and gas stunning in pigs. This information was gathered through face-to-face interviews with CAs, food business operators (FBO), AWOs and official veterinarians (OVs), and spot visits to 24 slaughterhouses. During the 1st meeting, held on the 27th April in Barcelona, the technical network discussed the data gathered through the questionnaire and spot visits, and the development of pilot SOPs to solve the difficulties in implementing the requirements for waterbath stunning and valid and reliable assessment of unconsciousness in cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry. The implementation of the SOPs has been assessed at the same slaughterhouses previously visited, by conducting face-to-face interview with the AWOs and OVs, direct evaluation of the monitoring procedure, and assessment of the number of failures in the assessment of unconsciousness. The effectiveness of the pilot technical network in identifying and implementing knowledge based strategies to overcome the difficulties addressed in this pilot study has been reviewed during the 2nd meeting held the 11th of September in London. During the meeting the profile of new partners for possible inclusion in a future network was discussed.