Federation of Veterinarians of Europe
Conference on Welfare at Slaughter in Sweden

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences held a conference on the protection of animals at the time of killing, sponsored by DG Sanco and EFSA, at Lindasgarden (Sweden), within days of the European Commission producing the draft Regulation on that topic.

The meeting, held between the 1st and 3rd October 2008, attracted delegates form the EU institutions, academia, research, regulators and lobby groups who travelled to Sweden from over 20 European countries and from as far away as Brazil.

Over two days of lectures and discussion the organisers managed to ensure a consistently high standard of presentation was maintained with topics covered dealing with aspects of animal welfare beginning with transport through the lairage to assessment of effective stunning.

To provide a practical interlude, the organisers laid on a 'state of the art' Swedish multi-decked pig transport vehicle and a mobile slaughter facility for 'spent' laying hens, from Denmark. The hen slaughter vehicle utilised a gaseous mixture to kill the hens prior to processing them on site into a protein 'slurry' which could be used by the fur farming industry.

The final presentations were given by Oriol Ribo, from EFSA, on their activities to improve animal welfare at slaughter, high-lighting the recent opinios on the slaughter of seals and a future opinion on fish. Terence Cassidy, from the Food and Veterinary Office, recounted common findings on animal welfare audits, and Denis Simonin of DG Sanco explained the approach and content of the new draft Regulation.

On the following day, the delegates had the opportunity to visit the Scan AB abattoir in Skara to observe the lairage handling system.