The majority of media coverage on the current carbon dioxide (CO2) shortages has focused on the impact on supplies of food and drink but there is far less coverage on the serious consequences for poultry welfare.
CO2 is used to stun poultry in order to perform humane slaughter. If there are not adequate supplies of CO2 to slaughterhouses, this could result in a backlog of animals leading to a critical animal welfare situation on farms if they cannot be processed. In addition, the lack of CO2 would also affect the ability of farms to carry out emergency slaughter on site.
Along with colleagues in the poultry industry, the veterinary profession is calling on all major gas producers to prioritise CO2 supplies to slaughterhouses in order to ensure standards of animal welfare are maintained and to keep the food chain moving.
The British poultry industry has some of the highest welfare standards in the world and action must be taken to ensure that these CO2 shortages do not jeopardise the UK’s reputation in this area.