This ask report considers humane slaughter and transportation methods with the aim of reducing suffering during particularly stressful events in animals’ lives.
In line with our priority animal reports, this report focuses on the duration and quality of transportation methods for fish and poultry. We have a fairly good understanding of what slaughter and transportation methods are ethically preferable. However, the research suggests that both governments and corporations could significantly improve these methods, especially if laws were extended to include fish. These improvements include enacting a regulation of mandatory stunning for fish before slaughter, as well as stronger enforcement of current slaughter regulations in the EU and the US. The duration of transportation can be decreased by a policy change that reduces the maximum travel time, or by disallowing live transportation across borders. The quality of transportation can be improved in multiple ways, but regulations regarding temperature control and for fish water quality during transportation seem both especially neglected and highly important.
However, there are several reasons to think that this might not be the most important intervention to focus on, one of them being that slaughter and transportation make up a relatively short amount of time in an animal’s life span, and as a result changes in these practices have a limited effect on the total welfare of the animals. Interventions that focus on environmental changes could have a larger effect on total welfare, especially if focusing on farmed fish.
Due to the ease of implementation, but low cost-effectiveness, our preliminary research suggests that this intervention is average relative to other interventions, placing it in the middle third of interventions.
This report considers more deeply the benefits and weaknesses of this intervention and gives reasons why other methods might be more worthwhile for improving farmed animals’ lives.
Our priority ask reports are focused on what are the particular improvements or changes that can be “asked” for from corporations, governments, or individuals. Going cage free, making dietary changes, regulating slaughter practices, and many other asks all serve as examples here. They are compared based on the strength of the idea (including the evidence base and estimated cost-effectiveness), limiting factors, execution difficulty, and externalities. All of these factors together could begin to suggest which asks might be the most effective when combined with a priority animal, country, and approach. However, these ask reports are short summaries of longer unpublished reports and, therefore, even if an ask looks promising this does not necessarily suggest that it will end up being a promising charity once paired with other elements and cross-compared to the other strongest possible charities. It just suggests that it is worth further and deeper investigation from our team. You can see our full planned research process here.
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