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UK Government must finally take action to end CO2 pig slaughter

News Section Icon Published 21/09/2021

  • Current CO2 shortages have, once again, highlighted the use of high concentrations of CO2 to slaughter pigs in the UK.
  • Every year, millions of British pigs face unnecessary pain, suffering and severe respiratory distress when slaughtered using CO2. The pigs can be seen trying to escape from the gas chamber.
  • CO2 is an inhumane method of slaughter for pigs, and alternative solutions must be found as soon as possible to stop use.
  • Despite numerous scientific reports showing that CO2is an inhumane method for stunning and slaughtering pigs, the pig industry has dragged its heels over developing more humane slaughter methods.
  • Defra part funded research into LAPS (Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning) which found that this was not a humane stunning method for pigs.
  • Compassion is calling on the Government to work with the pig industry to fully fund research into alternative slaughter methods to this severe welfare problem that has existed since the mid-1990s, and to end the use of CO2 for pig slaughter as a priority. 

Nick Palmer, Head of Compassion in World Farming UK, said:

“The media has been filled with headlines of fizzy drink and pork product shortages over the past few days, due to CO2 supply issues, but this shouldn’t be the main story. The suffering pigs experience when slaughtered using carbon dioxide is the real scandal.

“Every year, millions of British pigs are facing terrible treatment at slaughter, killed using CO2. This method involves lowering pigs into a CO2 chamber, where they panic, fight for breath and eventually suffocate. It can take as long as 60 seconds for them to lose consciousness.

“The truth is that CO2 killing of pigs is as much non-stun slaughter as simply cutting an animal’s throat and letting them bleed to death. In both cases, animals experience a prolonged period of pain, suffering and distress.

“This awful cruelty has to end. It’s high time the UK Government takes action to end this suffering by fully funding research to find humane alternatives to this severe welfare problem that has existed since the mid-1990s.”

For further information or to arrange an interview contact Compassion in World Farming’s Media Team: 01483 521 615


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