Very large numbers of farmed livestock are slaughtered daily around the world to provide food and other resources for human benefit. The Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) works to improve standards of welfare for food animals during transport, marketing, slaughter, and killing for disease control and welfare reasons.
In order to give recognition to important contributions made in this field and to promote interest in pursuit of further advances, the HSA runs an award scheme for individuals or organisations (anywhere in the world) whose work has resulted in significant advances in the welfare of livestock (eg cattle, sheep, pigs, other mammals, poultry or fish) during transport, marketing and slaughter, or killing for disease control. The winner will receive an award of £3000.
The HSA is keen to receive applications or nominations relating to:
Individuals or organisations are encouraged to apply and we are also keen to receive nominations of potential recipients from third parties. The award is for £3000.
This award is now closed.
Professor Neville Gregory
The 2016 winner is Professor Neville Gregory.
The award was made in recognition of the developments and technological developments he has made over 37 years which have led to significant and considerable advances in humane slaughter.
As leader of the animal welfare group within the AFRC Institute of Food Research at Bristol, Professor Gregory helped initiate research into improving welfare during transport, stunning and slaughter - a neglected area of research. He was also instrumental in setting minimum standards for stunning - for example, electrical parameters and blood vessels to be severed at slaughter.
Professor Gregory has had published hundreds of original scientific papers and several books which are a fitting testament to his contribution to animal welfare science. In addition, he has acted as an expert advisor to different national and international institutions and his research outcomes have been widely used to set standards of welfare in European Directives and Slaughter Regulations.
As a leader, he has mentored scientists who later became world leaders in their own specialised field, and taught animal welfare to students at all levels and at several institutions around the world – inspiring and encouraging many generations.
Dr Robert Hubrecht, Chief Executive and Scientific Director of HSA said: “Millions of animals are killed for human consumption every day, Professor Gregory Is an exceptionally talented physiologist who has contributed greatly to the welfare of farmed animals during production and at the time of slaughter”
On learning of the award, Professor Gregory paid tribute to colleagues who had worked with him to advance humane slaughter as well as to HSA staff.
Danish Meat Research Institute (DMRI).
The 2015 winner is the Danish Meat Research Institute (DMRI).
DMRI has had a major input in improving the welfare of pigs during transport and at slaughter, and have been particularly influential in encouraging their transport from farm to slaughter in natural social groups to improve welfare. The Institute has also provided advice on making animal transport systems more humane and has set up systems for traceability and documentation of animal welfare used by the meat industry both as a control and to improve handling procedures and technical performance with the aim of improving animal welfare. DMRI members also serve as experts for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), national and international authorities, the industry and NGOs, and undertake educational activities on behalf of the European Commission, national authorities and the meat industry.
Dr Bert Lambooij DVM of the Animal Science Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands.
The 2014 winner is Dr Bert Lambooij DVM of the Animal Science Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands.
Dr Lambooij’s work, which has resulted in the publishing of more than 100 peer-reviewed papers since 1995, has covered both fundamental research on aspects of neurophysiology and research into novel technologies for improved stunning including for fish, broiler chickens and pigs – the latter, for example, leading to the development of a new restraining system which not only improves animal welfare but also meat quality and consequently is now used in slaughterhouses worldwide.
Much of Dr Lambooij’s work has also related to refining existing slaughter and husbandry techniques. He has shown, for example, that improvement of pig welfare through environmental enrichment improves ability to cope with stressful situations at slaughter. His work has also included mobile slaughter and methods to safeguard and monitor farmed fish welfare.
Dr Robert Hubrecht, HSA Chief Executive, presented the award to Dr Lambooij at the Recent Advances in Animal Welfare Science conference organised by the HSA’s sister charity the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW) in York on 26th of June (see photo above).
Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries (IRTA) / Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) Animal Welfare Research Group
The 2013 winner of the Humane Slaughter Award is the IRTA/UAB Animal Welfare Research Group, based at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain. Since it was founded in 1996, the IRTA has made many contributions to improve welfare of livestock at slaughter. Its work has included research aiming to optimise gas stunning at slaughter in pigs, sheep, poultry and rabbits and investigations into the use of alternative gas mixtures that may be less aversive than carbon dioxide.
The group has published numerous scientific papers in the field but has worked also to promote the uptake of scientific findings in development of policy and in practice. Members of the Group have contributed to important international expert consortiums including working groups of the European Food Safety Authority's Panel on Animal Health and Animal Welfare addressing welfare aspects of animal stunning and killing methods and welfare of animals during transport, and the EU funded DIALREL Project (improving knowledge and expertise through dialogue and debate on issues of welfare, legislation and socio-economic aspects). The Group has also contributed to postgraduate courses and training activities at national and international levels.
The Stunning and Slaughter Group at the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences – the HSA John Ace Hopkins award for Significant Advances in Humane Slaughter
This year, in honour and memory of John Ace-Hopkins who won the award in 2011 and who died in November 2011, the award was named the ‘HSA John Ace-Hopkins Award for Significant Advances in Humane Slaughter’ and was presented to the Stunning and Slaughter Group at Bristol University’s Veterinary School for their major contributions to the science underpinning humane livestock slaughter.
The members of the group, Dr Toby Knowles, Dr Jeff Lines, Dr Mike O’Callaghan, Dr Mohan Raj, Mr Lindsay Wilkins and Mr Steve Wotton MBE, have made major contributions to the science underpinning humane livestock slaughter. For over 15 years the group, led primarily by Dr Mohan Raj, have investigated the design and operation of the poultry waterbath stunner and initially developed the use of controlled atmosphere (CA) systems, which offered an alternative to the traditional multi-bird electrical waterbath stunner.
In addition to its research, the group has played a major role in training and promoting good practice for welfare through the Masters degree in Meat Science and Technology and the Animal Welfare Officer training courses at Bristol, and through its contributions to the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) and European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) scientific reviews that have helped shape legislation.
Jeff Lines of Silsoe Livestock Systems and John Ace Hopkins of Ace Aquatec Limited
The two winners of the 2011 Humane Slaughter Award were recognised for their significant work for the welfare of farmed fish.
Jeff Lines of Silsoe Livestock Systems and John Ace Hopkins of Ace Aquatec Limited were presented with their awards by Professor Temple Grandin of Colorado State University, USA at the HSA’s international symposium “Recent Advances in the Welfare of Livestock at Slaughter”. Jeff was recognised for his research into electrical methods for the humane stunning and killing of farmed fish and John for his work taking up this research in the development of commercial humane stunning and killing equipment for farmed fish.
Historically, there was no way to humanely kill farmed fish – they died slowly through suffocation when harvested from the water. Following a Farm Animal Welfare Council report in 1996 which highlighted the need for a humane method of slaughtering trout en masse, Jeff Lines led the necessary research into the electrical currents needed to stun and kill trout humanely and the ways in which this current could be applied for long enough to ensure that there was no recovery. This research was very successful and a prototype system was soon being tested. John Ace-Hopkins worked with Jeff to develop, manufacture and make available systems based on these new scientific findings to the farmed fish industry.
The welfare benefit from this research and development affects millions of fish and is a huge step forward.
Dr Craig Johnson and his colleagues at Massey University, New Zealand
The HSA’s inaugural Humane Slaughter Award was given to Dr Craig Johnson and his colleagues at Massey University, New Zealand, for groundbreaking research investigating pain in cattle slaughtered without prior stunning.
Dr Johnson is Associate Professor of Veterinary Neurophysiology at the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences at Massey University in New Zealand. Along with co-researchers Dr Troy Gibson, Professor Kevin Stafford and Professor David Mellor, he used new electroencephalogram analysis technology to investigate the effects of slaughter of cattle by ventral neck cut without prior stunning. The results concluded: ‘This…demonstrates clearly for the first time that the act of slaughter by ventral neck cut incision is associated with noxious stimulation that would be expected to be perceived as painful…’
Animals were anaesthetised so that no pain was actually felt during the experiments; the EEG analysis showed that it would have been had no anaesthetic been administered.
A great many animals around the world are slaughtered without prior stunning. This work provides significant support for the value of stunning animals prior to slaughter to prevent pain and distress, and the HSA hopes that it will help to change attitudes to the importance of stunning. In this respect the research findings had an effect with authorities in a number of major muslim countries issuing statements to the effect that meat from animals stunned prior to slaughter can be considered halal.
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