In 2007, it was estimated that 6.3 million pigs were killed inhumanely in Taiwan. With the Taiwanese Council of Agriculture’s (COA) new, humane Code of Practice for livestock slaughter now two weeks overdue, WSPA member society the Environment and Animal Protection Society of Taiwan (EAST) has released a timely reminder – a report on the slaughter standards of the country’s quality assurance schemes for pig meat.
The report, part of a project undertaken with and funded by WSPA, reveals that none of the six COA-endorsed pig meat quality assurance schemes have legally binding standards that minimise animal suffering during slaughter, handling or transportation.
No independent auditing of slaughter methods takes place.
EAST’s report points out that this is a public health issue as well as a large-scale animal welfare concern: pork is the most widely consumed meat in Taiwan, providing the main source of animal protein in the nation’s diet.
Stressful inhumane slaughter methods often result in poor quality meat that is either watery and soft or dry and tough.
Building on recent success
EAST’s 2007 campaign against illegal methods of pig slaughter in Taiwan included an e-petition to the government. This resulted in an amendment to the Taiwanese Animal Protection Act that made animal cruelty – including inhumane slaughter – a criminal offence.
In accordance with the change in law, the COA was due to announce a new Code of Practice for the humane slaughter of livestock by 16 July 2008. But to date, the COA is yet to approve the draft.
As they release their report, EAST is calling upon the government to:
Approve and announce the draft of the new Code of Practice for humane livestock slaughter as a matter of urgency
Combine the existing quality assurance schemes into one baseline scheme, in line with the new code
Use the considerable COA funds currently spent on monitoring multiple assurance schemes on farm animal welfare measures, such as better transportation, handling and stunning; the assessment of slaughterhouses; abolishing live auction markets; educating consumers
Pass a law regulating slaughterhouses and placing responsibility for good animal welfare on owners, management and individuals, in line with World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines.
A better future for farm animals?
WSPA is hopeful that the government of Taiwan will act on EAST’s recommendations; they have already improved conditions for farm animals once this year by banning live bird markets in April.
WSPA Programmes Manager, Amy Firth, said: “There seems to be a genuine desire from the government to improve the welfare of farm animals in Taiwan. However, unless they adopt and enforce one set of legally binding standards – covering transportation, handling and slaughter – Taiwan’s pigs will continue to suffer. The government has the chance to lead the animal welfare movement in Asia; we hope it seizes the opportunity.”
WSPA is one of the organisations that will discuss farm animal welfare with a COA representative visiting the UK later this year.
Find out more
The WSPA-led Asian Coalition for Farm Animals (ACFA) brings together Asian NGOs, like EAST, that run farm animal welfare campaigns. Read more >>