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Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 13 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what response he has made to the recommendation of the Farm Animal Welfare Council that the use of aversive gas mixtures for stunning and killing pigs should be phased out within five years; and if he will make a statement. (162903)

[holding answer 12 November 2007]: In its response to the Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) report, the Government indicated that it would investigate alternatives to the use of carbon dioxide for stunning and killing pigs. DEFRA has commissioned two research projects that will examine the use of other gases or gas mixtures (including inert gases) for these purposes. The work commenced in 2005, but it will take at least five years to complete. The Government’s response confirmed that it could not make a commitment to phase out the use of carbon dioxide within five years while there was no certainty that an effective alternative system would be available within that time frame. This remains the position.