Why maintaining water bath stunning is important?

In its new position paper on killing methods, Euro Foie Gras is in favor of maintaining water bath stunning for fat palmipeds, at least for slaughterhouses whose slaughter frequency is less than 8,000 poultry/hour. EFSA’s 2019 scientific opinion on the slaughter of poultry indicates that below 8,000 birds/hour on a chain, operators have time to identify if some fat palmipeds are not properly stunned and thus to apply the appropriate corrective measures. 

The European foie gras sector also emphasizes that its slaughterhouses comply with animal welfare standards. Getting quality products requires slaughtering properly fat palmipeds in full respect of their welfare and the current water bath stunning system works well if the equipment used is correctly adjusted. In addition, Euro Foie Gras insists on the fact that the veterinary services regularly check fat palmipeds slaughterhouses and each of them has an animal protection officer who ensures that no animal is consciously bled. Furthermore over the last years, the use of a system for recording water bath stunning parameters has allowed to control the correct setting of the system as well as precise monitoring. 

Finally, it has been proven that being diving animals in natural conditions, fat palmipeds have a special anatomical capacity which, unlike other poultry, enables them to remain apneic for several minutes in the presence of high concentrations of CO2. This makes water bath stunning the most effective solution, since gas stunning does not cause the loss of consciousness of all the animals of the same batch within a certain period. 

With this new position paper, Euro Foie Gras reaffirms its constructive spirit a few months before the publication, by the European Commission, of the legislative proposals on animal welfare.