Stunning before slaughter

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Stunning before slaughter

Stunning before slaughter

According to EU regulation 1099/2009, all animals slaughtered in Denmark/the EU must be sufficiently stunned before slaughter. The purpose of the stunning procedure is to induce insensibility to pain until the animal is dead, and the procedure must therefore ensure that no animals regain consciousness before, during or after sticking. However, suboptimal stunning can induce pain, and the handling prior to stunning can also involve fear and stress. Therefore, optimal handling prior to stunning combined with the correct stunning procedure is crucial to the welfare of the animals during this stage of the day of slaughter.

Report - The advantages and disadvantages of electrical and CO2 stunning in relation to animal welfare and meat quality


DMRI has conducted research in the pre-stunning handling and stunning of pigs, poultry, and cattle for decades, including:

  • CO2 stunning of pigs in groups
  • Lairage environment and management in pig slaughterhouse
  • Pre-slaughter handling of pigs
  • Neurological and behavioural response of pigs during CO2 stunning. Two PhD projects in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen.
  • Behavioural response of pre-slaughter handling in conventional versus free-range pigs
  • Time of exposure in CO2 for pigs in relation to the stun-stick interval
  • Effect of the environment in CO2 stunning boxes in relation to the response of pigs
  • Behavioural response of pigs to alternative gasses
  • Electrical stunning of cattle
  • Best practice for stunning with a captive bolt device for cattle
  • CO2 stunning of cattle
  • Animal welfare challenges associated with water bath stunning of poultry
  • Poultry line hangers