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Ethics Of Slaughter Procedures
 

Ethics Of Slaughter Procedures

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Lecture to students, SOCRATES / ERASMUS /INTERNATIONAL COURSE 2003, ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND VETERINARY PUBLIC HEALTH

Lecture to students, SOCRATES / ERASMUS /INTERNATIONAL COURSE 2003, ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND VETERINARY PUBLIC HEALTH



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  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
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  • Thanks for your thoughts.
    If you follow the slides, you can see that (for me) is mandatory avoid suffering during the slaughter process. I trust in the right to eat meat, and the animal welfare science as basic of the Best Farming Practices are in that way, as OIE & FAO & OPS/OMS agree.
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  • Interesting presentation - not very good graphically/structurally but interesting. I can't tell if you support Animal welfare or not though...

    The first couple slides raise some quams with me - where you state the animals have an interest in not being killed and avoiding. And in the same slide you state the humans may wish to eat meat... Don't take this the wrong way, but it sounds kinda like your approving supporting unneccessary suffering in animals for trivial human needs..
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Ethics Of Slaughter Procedures Ethics Of Slaughter Procedures Presentation Transcript

  • Ethics of slaughter procedures Leopoldo Estol USAL Argentina
  • Human and animal needs
    • The consumption of meat is a part of the dietary culture of many people
    • To supply meat to urban populations, the centralised commercial slaughter of farmed animals is now common
    • Despite the industrialisation of slaughter, huge numbers of farmed animals are killed locally by farmers themselves for their communities
  • Wherever animals are slaughtered, some principles can be applied
    • Humans may wish to eat meat
    • Animals have some basic needs - one of which is not to suffer unnecessarily at the time of their death
    • Principles
    • The wishes of the humans should not override the basic needs of the animals
    • The ‘benefit’ to the people should ‘justify’ the ‘cost’ to the animals
  • What is the potential ‘cost’ to the animal of slaughter
    • The animals life will be ended
    • (some philosophers raise the issue of ‘quantity of life’)
    • The individual animal may experience fear, distress and pain during the slaughter process
    • The ‘natural’ make-up of animal groupings (herds, flocks) is manipulated to produce animals of a required size or weight
  • Some farmed animals will be ‘home killed’ where they are reared
    • – many hundreds of millions of chickens, ducks, turkeys, lambs, goats, cattle and pigs are killed each year on family farms
  • ‘ Home’ killed animals
    • For animals killed on family farms and in isolated areas, slaughter methods have not changed for thousands of years
    • - smaller animals (lambs, birds) are usually killed by exsanguination (neck cutting), or by decapitation
    • - larger species (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs) may be hobbled with ropes to allow neck cutting
    • - larger species are sometimes head shot and then bled out
  • But - many animals are taken to centralised commercial plants for slaughter
    • For these animals, the ‘process’ of slaughter will involve
    • transport
  • Transport to slaughter has the potential to cause distress and suffering
  • - Lairage (holding before slaughter) During lairage, animals may be mixed with unfamiliar animals and this may result in fighting. They may have food withheld and may not be provided with bedding.
  • - Exposure of the living to the dying
    • Many countries make it unlawful for living animals to be present in the same area as animals which are being butchered, but many countries do not, and in many slaughter plants, the dead and the living mix in the same space
    Some people believe that animals have the potential to be distressed by the sight, smell and sound of slaughter
  • Slaughter and killing
    • ‘ Slaughter’ is the killing of animals for food and is a ‘process’ – usually involving two stages;
    • Stunning – induction of unconsciousness in a ‘very short’ time
    • and
    • 2) Killing – carrying out of a further process after stunning which makes physiological recovery impossible and leads to the death of the animal
  • The concept of ‘immediate’
    • It is NOT practically possible to achieve ‘instant’ insensibility because the most commonly used methods (mechanical and electrical stunning) take a short time to cause changes in the activity of nervous tissue which will result in unconsciousness
    • It IS however possible to create unconsciousness in such a short time that the animal may be unaware that this has occurred as it is believed that the ‘perception and experience’ of pain takes around 300ms (1/3 second) to be ‘recognised’ in the species in which it has been measured
    • If a stunning process can induce unconsciousness in less than 300 ms this is considered to be IMMEDIATE
  • ‘ Best practice’
    • For any farmed animal, achieving an immediate state of unconsciousness, followed by rapid progression to death is likely to be the optimum method for slaughter. These principles are considered best practice , and are enforced by legislation in many societies
  • Mechanisms for achieving an immediate stun Captive bolt stunning Transfer of energy via the skull, caused by a penetrating ‘bolt’, creates a wave of shock energy through the nervous tissue of the brain and the first part of the spinal cord. The penetration of the bolt may also cause irreversible damage to the frontal cortex and midbrain which helps to ensure the animal does not recover. If applied correctly, the captive bolt can induce insensibility within 150 ms
    • To achieve an effective stun, positioning of the captive bolt weapon is important, and the animal should be restrained to allow accurate positioning.
    • Restraint at stunning is a legal requirement in many countries.
    • This requirement recognises the importance of ‘accuracy’ in stunning to help ensure that the stun is effective and to help protect the animal from severe suffering which may occur if poorly stunned.
    Stunning
  • Captive bolt stunning position for cattle The intersection point of two imaginary lines from the top of the eye, to the base of the horn buds
  • Captive bolt stunning position for sheep and goats without horns Place the captive bolt weapon at the highest point on the top of the head and aim toward the angle of the jaw
  • Captive bolt positioning for horned sheep or goats Place the captive bolt just behind the ridge that joins the base of the horns and aim toward the mouth
  • Mechanisms for achieving an immediate stun Percussive stunning Transfer of energy through the bones of the skull without penetrating the bone, creates a wave of shock energy through the nervous tissue of the brain and the first part of the spinal cord. If applied correctly, this method induces insensibility within 150 ms
  • Percussion and concussion (often confused)
    • Percussion – ‘the forcible striking of one solid body against another’
    • Concussion – ‘temporary unconsciousness or incapacity due to a blow to the head’
    • Percussive stunners provide the force (energy), and concussion is the result
  • Percussive stunning position for cattle Some religious slaughter requires the use of a non- penetrating stunning method. The head of the ‘knocker’ is placed at the intersection point of two imaginary lines from the top of the eye, to the base of the horn buds.
  • Percussive stun/kill for small farmed animals
    • For birds up to the size of a turkey, rabbits and for small lambs and kids, a suitable percussive stunner can induce immediate insensibility and bring about severe damage to the nervous tissue in the head which also results in death – this is known as stun/kill
  • Mechanisms for achieving an immediate stun (3) Electrical stunning Electricity can act to induce uncoordinated electrical activity (epileptiform activity) in the brain which renders the animal unconscious If this epileptiform activity can be induced in a time less than 400ms, then the animal does not feel the application of the stun
  • Electrical stunning position for sheep and goats Either side of the head between the eye and the ear
  • Electrical stunning position for pigs Either side of the head below the ears
  • Birds are stunned by automated ‘water bath’ electrical stunning
    • Electrical stunning is achieved by the head of each birds passing through a ‘water bath’ – a trough containing water, in which electrical contact with the birds head is made
    Many 10’s of billions of farmed poultry are killed annually by electrical stunning followed by exsanguination
  • Automated electrical stunning has the potential for poor ‘control’
    • Any automated stunning system must be closely monitored to ensure that the animals are effectively stunned – un-stunned animals which enter the neck cutter will suffer a ‘poor death’
    In this picture, ducks are lifting their heads away from the water in the water bath stunner, and will pass on to have their necks cut without being effectively stunned
  • Stunning and killing are not the same !
    • A stunned animal is in a temporary state of unconsciousness from which it can potentially recover consciousness
    • - the stunned animal must then be killed before there is any chance of recovering consciousness
  • Killing methods
    • Exsanguination
    • Bleeding out is the most commonly used method. Severance of the major vessels in the neck (Carotid arteries and Jugular veins) causes rapid loss of blood volume and collapse of brain and respiratory function.
    Some stun/kill methods such as secondary cardiac arrest stunning in pigs and high frequency stunning in poultry do not demand exsanguination as the heart is stopped by these methods, and there is no possibility of recovery of consciousness.
  • Gas stunning
    • For poultry and pigs, placing the animals in high concentrations of CO 2 or Argon gas induces a stunned state followed rapidly by death from anoxia.
    • At high concentrations, CO 2 acts as an anaesthetic gas.
    • Argon is not detectable (inert) and induces death by anoxia.
    • The aversive (unpleasant to the senses) effects of CO 2 , and the relatively high cost of
    • Argon have raised ethical and economic questions about these methods.
  • The Effectiveness of local Animal Welfare Legislation in slaughter plants and on farm.
    • May be ineffective as a result of poor enforcement due to :
    • Limited resources
    • Limited training of slaughterhouse personnel
    • Difficulties in assessing activities carried out on farm
    • Lack of willingness by local authorities to consider slaughter as an area where animal welfare ‘matters’ as the animals have only a short time to live
  • What effects can organisations which wish to see improvement in the conditions of animals at slaughter have ?
    • They can ‘just say no’ to some practices – by, for example, supporting a boycott of meat products from countries which do not have Animal Welfare at Slaughter legislation.
    • They can campaign and lobby to raise public and political awareness of issues of transport and lairage, poor (or no) stunning techniques, and poor control of killing methods.
    • Through education, they can allow people to make informed judgements on slaughter issues, and relate their local experience to global ‘standards’, and to their dietary and cultural expectations.
    • They can promote the allocation of resources to maintain effective policing of existing legislation, and the creation or refinement of existing legislation.
  • What effects can organisations which wish to see improvement in the conditions of animals at slaughter have ?
    • They can ‘just say no’ to some practices – by, for example, supporting a boycott of meat products from countries which do not have Animal Welfare at Slaughter legislation.
    • They can campaign and lobby to raise public and political awareness of issues of transport and lairage, poor (or no) stunning techniques, and poor control of killing methods.
    • Through education, they can allow people to make informed judgements on slaughter issues, and relate their local experience to global ‘standards’, and to their dietary and cultural expectations.
    • They can promote the allocation of resources to maintain effective policing of existing legislation, and the creation or refinement of existing legislation.
  • Bibliography Humane Slaughter Association – ‘Taking responsibility’ HSA, The Old School, Brewhouse Hill, Wheathampstead, Herts, AL4 8AN, UK www. awtraining .com - Site for training in welfare aspects of slaughter The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995, UK WSPA Reports The Facts About our Food – Animal Transpor, Pigs. Chicken Fraser A F & Broom D M ‘Farm Animal Behaviour and Welfare’ CABI Publishing ISBN 0 85198 787 7 Grandin T ‘Livestock Handling and Transport’ CABI Publishing ISBN 0 85199 409 1