High welfare indoor pig farm, UK

Humane slaughter: how we reduced animal suffering

Image credit: World Animal Protection / Thomas Alexander

From 2007 until 2015, our work to promote humane slaughter in Brazil and China helped more than eight billion animals.


Supporting humane slaughter

Millions of farm animals face unnecessary stress and suffering before and during slaughter – because workers lack the expertise, skills and technology to ensure humane treatment.

So we worked with food companies, governments and scientists in Brazil, China and Indonesia to encourage humane slaughter. And our work with partners helped vets in Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines introduce humane slaughter too.

To reduce animal suffering, we offered straightforward, practical advice and training to help companies and governments to take action.


Humane slaughter: our solution

Changes made in slaughterhouses following our training included:

  • Use of humane handling techniques
  • Pre-slaughter stunning, which stops animals feeling pain
  • Correct use of stunning and restraining equipment
  • Handling pigs in groups to reduce stress on individual animals
  • Installation of blue lamps to calm poultry
  • Use of non-slip floors and low-angle ramps to stop animals falling and getting injured.
19 day old meat chicken in Kenya - Change for chickens - World Animal Protection

Image credit: World Animal Protection / Georgina Goodwin

To make sure change lasts, we:

  • Helped companies introduce policies and guidelines on humane slaughter
  • Called for legislation and codes of practice on humane slaughter
  • Worked with vet schools to introduce teaching on humane slaughter.


Following our training, a lot changed at one Brazilian abattoir where 2,000 cattle are slaughtered every day.

  • 81% reduction in animals slipping
  • 89% reduction in animals falling
  • 53% reduction in use of prodding equipment


Benefits for business

A five-year study of our humane slaughter training found that abattoirs earned a better reputation by using humane methods, helping them compete globally. Staff morale improved too.

And because fewer animals were injured, fewer carcasses were bruised – improving meat quality. In one slaughter plant in Brazil, 63% fewer animals were bruised following our training.


Staff with cows at Moo to Ewe sanctuary, Australia

Animals in farming

More than 80 billion animals suffer on factory farms each year, with the vast majority cruelly confined to low-welfare farming systems.

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