§ 13. Mr. Morley
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to collect detailed information on what stunning currents are being used in United Kingdom poultry slaughterhouses.
§ Mr. Morley
Will the Minister give the House an assurance that in all cases where animals are slaughtered for food use, the highest and most humane standards will apply? Will he ensure that the currents used to stun poultry pre-slaughter are at the level of at least 130 milliamps to ensure that there is no chance whatsoever of an unstunned chicken going into the process?
§ Mr. Soames
The hon. Gentleman raises a very important point. He knows that the Government regard the question of animals and welfare at slaughter as extremely important. The statutory code of practice on the welfare of poultry at slaughter recommends a minimum current per bird of 105 milliamps for broiler chickens. This is based on scientific research, which shows that a minimum period of insensibility of 52 seconds is achieved by currents above this level.