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PigStun kicks-off: The project will promote more respectful techniques for animal welfare in European slaughterhouses

Representatives of PigStun Consortium

This European project will develop four alternatives to perform non-aversive stunning methods for pigs.

The PigStun project has started this year with the aim of incentivizing European pig slaughterhouses that are using stunning in high concentrations of carbon dioxide to adapt to systems that are more respectful with animal welfare.

To do this, the scientific team will develop technical specifications for four alternatives that represent an improvement over current practices:

  1. Multi-phaseBox System: a system that facilitates pre-grouped animals in small groups to be transported into a multi-phase-stunning system. As a starting point this system uses CO2, but the unit can be equipped to facilitated other gas mixtures.
  2. Helium: an alternative stunning system that uses helium in one or two-phases, in combination with nitrogen.
  3. Inert Gas Retrofit System: an alternative that can be retrofit to existing Dip-Lift and paternoster stunning devices to allow for stable gas mixtures of alternative gases at very low oxygen levels.
  4. Improved Electrical Stunning: this alternative will look at ways to improve the process of electrical stunning with special emphasis to pre-stunning handling, design of raceways and entrance of pigs into the stunner.

PigStun is a beneficiary of the financing agreement signed with the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA) under the “Single Market Programme – Food strand”, which aims to improve pig welfare. It receives funding from the Regional Development Fund of the European Union and the National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (Spain).

The PigStun consortium is composed of beneficiaries and associated partners from the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Spain, including academic research partners, slaughterhouse equipment developers, and five pig slaughterhouse companies. IRTA participates through the team led by Antonio Velarde, head of the Animal Welfare programme.

· More information: Linkedin page
· If you want to receive news and technical information about this project you can subscribe to the PigStun mailing list.

*Data on the Inert Gas Retrofit System is based on results provided from a separately funded independent project.