At least ten million chickens are slaughtered without being stunned every year, due to problems with stunning via electricity.
This is according to an inquiry by Het Laatste Nieuws, the results of which were published on Saturday. Abattoirs and authorities are aware of the problem but don’t do anything about it for economic reasons, the Flemish paper said.
Abattoirs that slaughter fowl have been using this stunning method for several years now. However, there is not a 100% guarantee that the chicken is unconscious when its throat is cut. The animal is plunged into an electric bath.
Twenty abattoirs use this method every day. Scientific studies show that at least 5% of chickens are not stunned correctly, which means ten million animals a year in Belgium.
Europe has laws on stunning before slaughter, but Belgian abattoirs don’t appear to respect them for economic reasons. This is with the authorities’ consent. “If we fall in line with Europe, the meat becomes too damaged”, the sector explains. Abattoirs also receive a lot of pressure from shops to operate at the lowest price possible. At the moment, many of them refuse to switch to alternative methods that are better for the animal.