BVA calls on Defra to explain poultry stunning delay
Published:  12 June, 2014

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has said that Defra “must explain” for the delay in implementation of EU poultry stunning laws.

Meatinfo.co.uk reported last month that Defra withdrew the implementation of the EU regulation the day before it was due to come into force, after a judicial review was launched on behalf of over 20 abattoirs. The new EU regulation states that increased currents should be used by abattoirs when stunning chickens.

Robin Hargreaves, president of the BVA, said: “The BVA has been at the forefront of the campaign to ensure all animals are effectively stunned before slaughter, and our government e-petition reached 50,000 signatures in just two weeks.

“We have also supported the provisions to improve welfare at slaughter within EU Regulation 1099/2009, which includes new rules on stunning following work by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to evaluate stunning parameters. The application of these parameters will ensure poultry is effectively stunned before slaughter.

“We are concerned that failure to implement the new regulations risks a percentage of chickens being ineffectively stunned, thus compromising animal welfare.

“The UK industry prides itself on maintaining some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world. Enabling ineffective stunning, as well as non-stun slaughter, to take place in UK abattoirs calls this reputation into question.”  

However, both the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS) and the Halal Authority Board (HAB) have been fighting against the regulation, stating that it would not only be costly to suppliers, but would render chickens unacceptable for halal suppliers.

Defra has not yet released a statement about the delay, but a spokesperson told Meatinfo.co.uk last month: “We want to give it some further consideration. It’s not linked to the judicial review, it’s a complicated issue and we wanted to give it more thought.”