Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach

Edited by Dr. Temple Grandin
Colorado State University, USA

ISBN: 978-1-84593-541-2
c. 336 pages
131 figures/illustrations

Subject Classifcation: KNAC, PSVP, TVH, TW
Territorial Market Rights: World
Published by CABI

Links for ordering:


Chapter 9: Improving livestock, poultry, and fish welfare in slaughter plants with auditing programs.

by Temple Grandin

This chapter contains practical instructions for correct stunning procedures and outlines an objective numerical scoring system for evaluating animal welfare in slaughter plants. The species that are covered are cattle, pigs, sheep, fish, and poultry. The following critical control points should be numerically scored:

There are 8 diagrams and photos to assist the reader in determining insensibility, showing the correct electric stunner placement , and using the right equipment for moving non-ambulatory animals.

Chapter 10 has diagrams for correct captive bolt or gunshot placement.

Below is an excerpt from Chapter 9...

There are four basic types of problems that cause poor animal welfare in a slaughter plant, and to be effective in solving problems that cause animal suffering one must correctly determine the cause of the problem. The four basic types of problems are:

  1. Poorly maintained equipment or facilities. Examples would be a broken stunner or a slippery floor that causes falling in the stun box or unloading ramp.
  2. Untrained employees or unsupervised employees who mistreat animals. Examples would be, poking a stick in an animalís rectum or slamming an animal down on to the floor with a heavy guillotine gate.
  3. Minor design faults that can be easily fixed. Examples would be welding steel rods on a poorly designed slippery stun box floor to provide a non-slip surface or eliminating a reflection on shiny metal that makes animals baulk and stop moving.
  4. Major design faults where a plant will need to purchase a major piece of equipment or rebuild the facility. Examples would be replacing shackling and hoisting of live animals for religious slaughter with a restraining box that holds them in an upright position, or replacing old, undersized equipment with new, larger capacity equipment that can handle a plantís increased line speed. Plants handling wild, extensively raised animals that lack basic equipment such as races will need to build them (see Chapters 5 and 14 for information on design).

Some of the most serious animal welfare problems exist in parts of the world where modern equipment for handling and restraining large animals such as cattle or water buffalos is not available. Welfare problems become worse if the animal is wild and untamed and not accustomed to being handled by people. Tame animals that are trained to lead are much easier to handle without modern equipment.

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Click here to return to the Improving Animal Welfare Table of Contents page and read other chapter excerpts.