Who we are
At the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA), we play a vital role in improving animal welfare in markets and collection centres, during transport, and at slaughterhouses. We are the only UK charity concerned exclusively in promoting the humane treatment of animals ‘beyond the farm gate’.
What we do
We are committed to achieving practical and long-lasting improvements to the welfare of food animals worldwide. We work with the livestock industry and animal welfare scientists globally to provide guidance and training, as well as funding and support for essential research projects, such as the examples below:
- One area of focus is the welfare of crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters, who are often killed by boiling or carving without first being rendered unconscious (or ‘stunned’). Whilst some electrical stunning devices are available, they have not yet been thoroughly validated. For cephalopods like octopus and squid, there are currently no routine stunning methods available. To protect their welfare and minimise suffering, we have provided over £1 million in funding to support two research projects that aim to identify and scientifically validate humane stunning methods for these species.
- In collaboration with Defra (The UK Government agriculture department), we recently funded a project to look for a humane alternative to stunning pigs in commercial abattoirs. Whilst high concentrations of carbon dioxide are commonly used for stunning pigs at slaughter, there has been concern that this method can cause pain and distress. An alternative method – Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning (LAPS) - was proposed to be more humane, but the research found that LAPS is unlikely to be a humane alternative to carbon dioxide. Whilst disappointing, this provides crucial evidence to protect the welfare of pigs at slaughter and to shift the focus of future research to find other potential improvements.
- We are currently working with colleagues in China, the largest consumer of meat in the world, to deliver training and advice to undergraduate students and those currently working with food animals. Through this work, we aim to improve the welfare of millions more animals and promote lasting change.
Humane Slaughter Association
The Old School
Phone: 01582 831919
Fax: 01582 831414