Members of the European Livestock and Meat Trading Union (UECBV) have agreed to share knowledge on carbon dioxide (CO2) stunning in an effort to put commercial competitiveness aside to see if industry-wide improvements can be realised.
These includes studying slaughter technologies, research and animal welfare improvements.
The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) is one of the UECBV members that has agreed to share information and assess whether changes can be made to improve pig welfare at the point of slaughter.
CO2 ‘still the best’
“As far as anyone can see, we still feel that CO2 gas stunning is still the best option, but we shouldn’t sit on our laurels and say that’s as good as it can be,” BMPA chief executive Nick Allen told this site.
“We’ve agreed to work together to see whether it can be improved, developed and to coordinate research.”
The agreement was reached at a UECBV meeting on 25 July, in which a number of bodies who collectively represent the majority of European pork processing attended.
Allen described the meeting as “quite good” and added: “It shows the industry is not just sitting back. I think some of these NGOs having a pop at it [gas stunning] has been a bit of a wake-up call to keep working at these things.”
Big pork producers Denmark and Poland were unable to attend the meeting but are expected to send reports to UECBV on the issue.
UECBV members have agreed look at the use of gas stunning in their respective countries and share this information with other organisation to see if slaughter practices that improve animal welfare can be achieved.
Members are expected to meet again to discuss progress on the issue by early 2018.