(BRUSSELS) - The European Commission on Thursday proposed tougher rules for slaughterhouses to ensure that farm animals "are humanely treated" before they are killed.
Each year almost 360 million pigs, sheep, goats and cattle as well as several billion poultry are killed in EU slaughterhouses for meat. Another 25 million animals are killed for their fur, according to official figures.
"As a society we have a duty of care to animals, which includes minimising distress and avoiding pain throughout the slaughtering process," said EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou.
"The current EU rules are outdated and need revision," she added.
Under the plans no method of stunning and slaughter would be banned, even though some have been identified as being less humane.