CIWF: Examining two solutions to reduce animal suffering – Mobile slaughter and meat analogues


CIWF: Examining two solutions to reduce animal suffering – Mobile slaughter and meat analogues

11 February 2019
On 5th February Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), together with Svenska Djurskyddforeningen, organised a debate at the European Parliament to discuss how mobile slaughter can break the chain of long-distance transport, reducing unnecessary suffering for the animals.

The event was hosted by MEP Jytte Guteland (S&D, SE) who stressed that the  practice is an effective solution to prevent animals from being transported alive, sparing them the pain and suffering such trade involves.

Far from being a futuristic and inaccessible solution, mobile slaughter is already a reality. The founder of Halsingestintan showed how it has been implemented in Sweden with significant benefits for the environment, consumers and – last but not least – the animals. The brutality of live transport is well known, and important institutions such as OIE, EFSA and FVE have been calling for years on the need to reduce the number of animals transported alive.

In fact, an assessment carried out in Sweden showed how mobile slaughter can help to achieve this goal, showing that five mobile slaughterhouses can reduce the number of cattle and pigs transported for more than four hours by 91% and 78%. In France, Le Boeuf Ethique is following the Swedish example, aiming to better protect the animals as well as the consumers.

Despite the significant benefits of mobile slaughter, it costs more than traditional slaughter, and there is also a  need to update certain rules to make on-farm slaughter possible. Denis Simonin, Head of Sector in the Animal Health and Welfare Unit at DG SANTE (European Commission), explained how derogations are already in place in the related EU legislation that could facilitate the implementation of mobile slaughter.

“We’ve seen the news that animal transport is awful so [mobile slaughter] is a very concrete way of changing the situation for many animals that suffer,” says host MEP Jytte Guteland. She aims to see no transport of animals at all, and she welcomes this new method.

— Compassion in World Farming EU (@CIWF_EU) February 5, 2019

The presentations were followed by a lively debate with MEPs and other stakeholders. In closing the event, MEP Guteland highlighted that, despite the fact that mobile slaughter is not yet feasible at the same massive scale as traditional slaughter, it allows a reduction in the number of animals transported alive.

The next day, CIWF turned its attention to a trend that may even have the potential to eliminate any type of animal slaughter altogether. Along with Humane Society International (HSI), they co-organized a round table in the European Parliament on the state of play and regulatory challenges for the commercialization of meat substitutes in the EU.

Co-sponsored by political parties EFDD, ECR, GUE/NGL and the Greens/EFA, the event focused on a forthcoming report on meat analogues by Chatham House, a recognized London-based think tank in international affairs.

In their opening remarks, MEPs insisted on the necessity to phase out the cruellest forms of animal agriculture, especially industrial farm animal production – often referred to as “factory farming” – and reduce meat consumption. Because of the urgent need to curb gas emissions from animal agriculture and in the absence of a major shift in consumption patterns, MEPs emphasized meat substitutes as having significant potential to cut meat consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Some – with CiWF EU and HSI in agreement – declared that meat analogues might even result in the phasing out of animal agriculture altogether, so that no animal is slaughtered for human consumption ever again. The event was also a chance for CiWF to share their official position on meat substitutes.

The Chatham House report, “The Future of Meat Analogues and the Regulatory Challenges in the EU,” was presented by its author Laura Wellesley, a Research Fellow in energy, environment and resources. She explained the differences between cell-based meat substitutes, produced with cells harvested from live animals and grown in incubators, and plant-based ones, which are made entirely from non-meat ingredients. Unlike plant-based substitutes, which replicate the taste and texture of meat, cell-based analogues are the exact equivalent of conventionally-farmed animal products, with the significant advantage that they do not require animals to be raised or slaughtered.

“Together we can create a truly resilient and ethical food system,” says MEP @EleonoraEvi who has been a vegetarian since 20 years.

Grazie mille MEP Evi for having hosted this fantastic event! It’s inspiring to hear such a vivid discussion with high-profile politicians!

— Compassion in World Farming EU (@CIWF_EU) February 5, 2019

She also explained the existing regulatory challenges facing the commercialization of such products. Meat analogues are regulated at EU level, with plant-based meat analogues following the usual regulatory pathway in place for any food marketed on the EU market. Cell-based products, on the other hand, are subject to the EU’s Novel Food regulation, revised in 2015 to cover such products. Other regulatory challenges include labeling and naming, with terms such as ‘meat’ currently strictly regulated in EU food legislation, as confirmed by the European Court of Justice in the “TofuTown” case.

Finally, she highlighted the importance of regulations in terms of consumer acceptance of novel food products, as well as for corporations in the business of meat alternatives from a competitive perspective.

The programme of the round table is available here.

The post 'CIWF: Examining two solutions to reduce animal suffering – Mobile slaughter and meat analogues' is modified from an article published by Compassion in World Farming in their original language.