(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author, Yvonne Vizzier Thaxton: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Are you ready to give up electrical stunning? You could have no choice. I just returned from the Annual meeting of the European Branch of World Poultry Science’s Poultry Welfare Conference. In the EU, it is expected that unless something unexpected happens, electrical stunning will be banned. The final decision could be made as early as June. Just how this will be implemented is yet to be determined. I imagine there will be some sort of phasing in if the ban occurs, much like the use of furnished cages for layers. Without an alternative, suddenly switching all of the processors would pose a challenge to everyone involved.
This reminds me of proposition 2 as it is regulation through emotion. The problem is that regulation based on emotion is dangerous as it is seldom completely thought through. For example, the full impact of Proposition 2 on California’s swine and egg industries is not yet know as regulators wade through the complexities of the new law. One expert says it could even ban any type of confinement.
Based on history, changes in Europe usually move to California and subsequently to the remaining states. For this reason, I believe the movement to ban electrical stunning will come to the U.S. A similar movement already exists in western Canada.
Our continued failure to get the story of our farmers and their husbandry practices out to the general public will continue to allow enactment of regulation based on emotion and ignorance to the determent of our food supply.