Poultry: Slaughterhouses

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 28th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord McColl of Dulwich Lord McColl of Dulwich Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether chickens are still being killed commercially by electrocution, upside down, on a conveyer belt; if not, how they are killed commercially; and if so, what assessment they have made of the use of that method on the spread of campylobacter.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

A 2018 survey conducted by the Food Standards Agency on all slaughter methods used in approved slaughterhouses in England and Wales showed that during the survey period around 70% of broiler chickens were gas stunned and around 20% were stunned in an electrical water bath. The results of the survey can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/farm-animals-survey-of-slaughter-methods-2018.

The particular features of permitted stunning methods are based assessments by the EU Food Safety Authority (EFSA) of the scientific evidence relating to welfare at slaughter. In terms of food safety, all permitted stunning and slaughter methods have to meet the same official controls and requirements on the spread of campylobacter.

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