This dossier aims to help Competent Authorities and other stakeholders with issues related to welfare of pigs at the time of stunning and killing. The dossier is updated periodically by the EURCAW-Pigs team. The text is meant to support Competent Authorities, and is not legally binding.
Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 regulates legal requirements for pigs at the time of killing. The regulation has been in force in the European Union since 2013, and determines the animal welfare conditions under which livestock should be handled and slaughtered.
During handling and moving towards the stunning area, pigs shall be handled according to their biology and to avoid pain and distress. This is because the latter results in pigs hesitating and halting, causing piling up, turning back, slipping or falling, and a suboptimal slaughter process. For each stage of the slaughter process, i.e. unloading from the vehicle, lairage, moving to the stunning area, stunning, possible hoisting, and debleeding, a specified SOP must be in place and applied. This is to be monitored by the Animal Welfare Officer.
In addition to the environment-based parameters required by law (Regulation 1099/2009) like electrical settings in case of electrical stunning, (records of) gas concentrations in case of CO2 stunning and the stun to-stick time interval, inspectors should use animal-based indicators. To assess proper and effective handling, stunning and bleeding, welfare indicators will be suggested by EURCAW-Pigs. Each indicator will described in an indicator factsheet, by suggesting an inspection and scoring method, and summarizing the underlying welfare concern and legal requirements.
In collaboration with national training bodies and national reference centres on animal welfare, training guides are developed for the different welfare topics as standards for national training in EU Member States.
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