Slaughter of animals: poultry

poultry, slaughter, hazards, animal welfare consequences, ABMs, preventive/corrective measures
First published in the EFSA Journal
13 November 2019
Adopted
26 September 2019
Type
Scientific Opinion

Abstract

The killing of poultry for human consumption (slaughtering) can take place in a slaughterhouse or during on‐farm slaughter. The processes of slaughtering that were assessed, from the arrival of birds in containers until their death, were grouped into three main phases: pre‐stunning (including arrival, unloading of containers from the truck, lairage, handling/removing of birds from containers); stunning (including restraint); and bleeding (including bleeding following stunning and bleeding during slaughter without stunning). Stunning methods were grouped into three categories: electrical, controlled modified atmosphere and mechanical. In total, 35 hazards were identified and characterised, most of them related to stunning and bleeding. Staff were identified as the origin of 29 hazards, and 28 hazards were attributed to the lack of appropriate skill sets needed to perform tasks or to fatigue. Corrective and preventive measures were assessed: measures to correct hazards were identified for 11 hazards, with management shown to have a crucial role in prevention. Ten welfare consequences, the birds can be exposed to during slaughter, were identified: consciousness, heat stress, cold stress, prolonged thirst, prolonged hunger, restriction of movements, pain, fear, distress and respiratory distress. Welfare consequences and relevant animal‐based measures were described. Outcome tables linking hazards, welfare consequences, animal‐based measures, origins, and preventive and corrective measures were developed for each process. Mitigation measures to minimise welfare consequences were also proposed.

Panel members at the time of adoption

Julio Alvarez, Dominique Joseph Bicout, Paolo Calistri, Klaus Depner, Julian Ashley Drewe, Bruno Garin‐Bastuji, Jose Luis Gonzales Rojas, Christian Gortázar Schmidt, Miguel Ángel Miranda Chueca, Virginie Michel, Søren Saxmose Nielsen, Helen Clare Roberts, Liisa Helena Sihvonen, Hans Spoolder, Karl Stahl, Antonio Velarde Calvo, Arvo Viltrop and Christoph Winckler.
Panel on Animal Health and Welfare
Contact
ALPHA [at] efsa.europa.eu
doi
10.2903/j.efsa.2019.5849
EFSA Journal 2019;17(11):5849
Question Number
On request from
European Commission