China introduces humane livestock slaughter rules

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, August 30, 2016
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Local rule on the humane slaughter of chickens took effect in east China's Shandong Province on Monday, the first for poultry in China.

Under Shandong's standard for slaughter of chickens, stress relief measures should be taken in the processes of seizing, transporting, loading and unloading.

Workers need to use special tools to seize chickens or both hands to grasp both wings instead of a single wing. Pulling and dragging chickens are banned. Stunning methods, such as the use of gas, should be adopted before slaughter.

Shandong is the country's leading chicken producer and exporter. Drafting of the standard was led by Qingdao Agricultural University and several food producers, including Nine-Alliance Group, a chicken raising and processing company.

"We began to study the requirements of animal welfare abroad in 2003. As our clients from the European Union value animal welfare a lot, we adopted humane handling of chickens very early," said Yang Shengren, a quality supervisor with the company. The company exports 25 percent to the European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Middle East.

Measures taken include comfortable temperatures in summer and winter, avoiding harming birds when hanging them and using electric stunning before slaughter, he said. Humane breeding and slaughter have increased the company's costs by about 2 million yuan (US$300,000) per year.

"But it makes our products better and more acceptable to the foreigners and our goods can be exported to more countries," said Yang.

Shandong's rule is not the first in the country in terms of livestock. In February 2009, pig slaughter criteria were introduced and most cities have adopted the standard.

The Chinese Veterinary Medical Association began to draft welfare criteria in November covering pigs, chickens, sheep and cattle.

Humane breeding and slaughter will make products more competitive internationally.

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