October 24 - A leading poultry welfare expert from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) was invited to address a conference of processors earlier this month.
Dr. Marc Cooper, from the RSPCA's farm animal science department, was invited to speak about the use of carbon dioxide controlled atmosphere systems for killing meat chickens at the Canadian Meat Council’s 8th Technical Symposium, which focused on advancements in livestock and poultry health and welfare in the supply chain.
Dr .Cooper, who is responsible for the development of the RSPCA welfare standards for both meat chickens and ducks, was invited to speak because of his wide-ranging and detailed research into gas killing systems which has seen him travel across the UK and to France, Germany and Austria.
Cooper noted that currently, only one poultry processor in Canada uses a gas killing system. The majority of birds are slaughtered using conventional water bath stunning systems - which is essentially the opposite to the situation in the UK where most birds are killed using gas systems.
The presentation focussed on the key areas that need to be considered to help achieve the most humane kill possible when using carbon dioxide gas killing systems.
There were about 90 representatives from all the major poultry processors in Canada as well as Canadian government officials.
Since his return from the symposium, Dr. Cooper has been contacted by a number of processors asking for more information about the most humane gas killing systems.