Guidance on the assessment criteria for applications for new or modified stunning methods regarding animal protection at the time of killing
This guidance defines the process for handling applications on new or modified stunning methods and the parameters that will be assessed by the EFSA Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW) Panel. The applications, received through the European Commission, should contain administrative information, a checklist of data to be submitted and a technical dossier. The dossier should include two or more studies (in laboratory and slaughterhouse conditions) reporting all parameters and methodological aspects that are indicated in the guidance. The applications will first be scrutinised by the EFSA's Applications Desk (APDESK) Unit for verification of the completeness of the data submitted for the risk assessment of the stunning method. If the application is considered not valid, additional information may be requested from the applicant. If considered valid, it will be subjected to assessment phase 1 where the data related to parameters for the scientific evaluation of the stunning method will be examined by the AHAW Panel. Such parameters focus on the stunning method and the outcomes of interest, i.e. immediate onset of unconsciousness or the absence of avoidable pain, distress and suffering until the loss of consciousness and duration of the unconsciousness (until death). The applicant should also propose methodologies and results to assess the equivalence with existing stunning methods in terms of welfare outcomes. Applications passing assessment phase 1 will be subjected to the following phase 2 which will be carried out by the AHAW Panel and focuses on the animal welfare risk assessment. In this phase, the Panel will assess the outcomes, conclusions and discussion proposed by the applicant. The results of the assessment will be published in a scientific opinion.