On-farm slaughter might improve animal welfare by eliminating unnecessary long-distance transport of animals according to Compassion in World Farming, a British NGO which is campaigning to end all factory farming practices. A panel debate took place this week (5 February) in the European Parliament in Brussels on the challenges and opportunities to on-farm or close-to-the-farm slaughter.
“Let’s look at the big picture and change the system,” said MEP Jytte Guteland (S&D, Sweden) who hosted the event. “”We’ve seen the news that animal transport is awful so mobile slaughter is a very concrete way of changing the situation for many animals that suffer.”
“I don’t think the Commission is doing their job,” said MEP Stefan Eck (GUE/NGL, Germany), noting that the Commission is giving a leeway for Member States in implementing legislation on long-distance animal transport.
MEP Anja Hazekamp (GUE/NGL, the Netherlands) noted that the best way to tackle the problems associated with long-distance animal transportation is to change our diets, which will also be better for the environment and our health.
Compassion in World Farming explains that billions of animals are loaded on trucks and trailers to be sent by road to a slaughterhouse. Over the years, the slaughter of animals has been centralised to fewer and bigger slaughterhouses, resulting in longer journeys.
Not only animal welfare is hampered by the long transports but meat quality may be negatively affected. With the use of on-farm slaughter or mobile slaughter units, these risks can be largely avoided, according to the animal welfare organisation.
The panellists are all keen on following up this issue in the EP and reduce animal suffering during transports but seem also aware of that replacing centralised slaughter by on-farm slaughter is not likely to happen very soon.
Adequate animal welfare controls are needed in both forms of slaughtering. The food we are eating should be healthy but animal suffering during transports must also be reduced.
The Brussels Times