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China drafts "humane" standards for animal slaughter

China implementing more humane slaughter methods

By Tom Johnston on 12/31/2007 for

China's government has received a manual prepared by the Beijing Anhua

Animal Product Safety Research Institute (APSRI) recommending more humane methods of killing livestock, Xinhua reported.

The drafted "Technological Requirements on Humane Methods of Slaughter" suggests such methods as herding pigs with plastic prods and killing animals within 15 minutes of stunning.

China initiated the "Project on Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter" program in its central Henan Province, and plans to gradually implement it nationwide.

"This is the first time for China to propose humane methods of slaughter," according to an unnamed Ministry of Commerce official. "It will take time to improve slaughter methods around the whole country. But China will continuously make efforts to advocate humane methods of livestock slaughter to the whole society."

The APSRI draft stresses merciful consideration for animals' feelings throughout four steps involved in the slaughter process, including methods for unloading of livestock from vehicles, keeping them in sties, driving them to slaughterhouses and the slaughter itself.

"Since the quality of meat from China has drawn international attention, the Chinese government has conducted special treatment on this issue," said an unnamed official with the Administrative Office of Livestock Slaughtering. "These include generalizing humane methods for livestock slaughter."

Dec 18, 2007

BEIJING (Reuters) - China, widely criticized for cruelty to animals bred for consumption, is drafting new standards on animal slaughter to make the practice more humane, Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

The central province of Henan has already adopted the measures, which include stunning the animals before killing them, and herding pigs with plastic prods instead of electric ones.

"Since the quality of meat from China has drawn international attention, the Chinese government has conducted special treatment on this issue," the report quoted an official from the Administrative Office of Livestock Slaughtering as saying.

China, the world's biggest pork producer and consumer, has been under scrutiny over the safety of its food exports and food production standards after a series of health scares both at home and abroad.

It has also been widely criticized by rights groups for its inhumane treatment of animals, including bears farmed for their bile and dogs for their meat.

The draft recommended several methods to make the slaughter process more humane, including shortening the time between stunning and killing and setting unloading platforms at proper heights for pigs to disembark from trucks without being hurt.

"This is to reduce the degree of suffering. Animals, like human beings, can also get extremely scared," said Mi Yali, an expert in livestock slaughter.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom, Editing by Nick Macfie and Sanjeev Miglani)

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