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EU: Clarification of changes to Animal Welfare Regulation



To: Stakeholders

Date: 23rd January 2013


As you may be aware from 1 January 2013, Reg EC No 1099/2009 came into effect in all EU Member States. This introduces a number of changes to welfare requirements for the slaughterhouse, moving the emphasis for monitoring and improving welfare to the Food Business Operator.

There are also a range of new definitions in the Regulation and we have become aware of some concerns relating to interpretation of the new Regulation and what the Regulation actually means. On that basis the FSA is writing to clarify the actual position with regards to the new definitions of key aspects of the slaughter process under the new Regulation.

The Regulation introduces new definitions for the slaughter process as follows:

  • “Slaughter” means killing animals intended for human consumption
  • “Stunning” is any process that causes a loss of consciousness and sensibility without causing pain
  • “Stunning” includes any process that results in instant death
  • “Simple stunning” is any stunning process which does not result in instantaneous death
  • “Simple stunning” must be followed as quickly as possible by a procedure ensuring death occurs before the animal regains consciousness

Where a simple stunning method is used the animal will, in most cases, remain alive but unconscious until something else e.g. bleeding, is done to cause the animal’s death. This is similar to the approach to the use of stunning (as opposed to killing) methods in the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 (WASK). The FSA appreciates that the introduction of new definitions may cause some confusion, but you may wish to make people aware that the EU Regulation does enable stunning methods to be used that do not automatically cause the death of an animal.



Geoff Ogle                                                               

Head of Field Operations

Operations Group

Food Standards Agency

Email: geoff.ogle@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

Tel: 07775 821 444


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2 Responses

  1. R. Carr

    This is amazing!

    100% backtracking of what it actually states in the New Legislation!

    Why amend and change legislation at great cost, when all Defra is going to do, is play about with Wording such as “Simple Stunning”. Have Defra just made this wording up, because they cocked up the definitions in the first place, and have had to back track, to keep the Meat Industry happy!

    It absolutely Stinks!

    I would love to know what the new View is of Ritual Slaughter is?

    I suppose Defra and the industry are now going to try and say that “Simple Stunning” is now acceptable for Ritual Slaughter for Muslims and Jews!

    Well if they have managed to cover up Pork & Horse meat being continually mislabelled and get legal documentation worded corectly despite numerous checks, then it shows that Defra & the Food Standards Agency are the “Simple” ones.

  2. Saba Erum

    This is “simply” playing with words.

    According to WASK 1995, “killing was defined as, in relation to an animal, means causing the death of the animal by any process other than slaughter”. Gas stunning is known as a killing process so what will be the definition for Gas stunning according to this new regulation.

    Previously FBO have drawn these terminologies for stunning, stun to stun and stun to kill. This new regulation seems to be a similar adjustment. So what will the the parameters to decide whether the stunning is “simple stunning” or “stunning”.

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