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HSA fish research funding

Humane Slaughter Association research funding for improvements in the humane slaughter of fish, crustaceans and cephalopods

The Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) is recognised for promoting scientific advances that improve the welfare of food animals worldwide during transport, marketing, slaughter or killing. The HSA is making over £1.7 million available to support scientific research to improve the welfare of farmed finfish, decapod crustaceans and/or coleoid cephalopods during slaughter. The funding can be used to better understand and improve the welfare of these farmed species whilst undergoing slaughter for food production.

Funding is available for:

Welfare of farmed finfish during slaughter (total funds available: £750,000). This award is now closed.

Farmed finfish are slaughtered in very large numbers, and many of these fish are not humanely stunned before slaughter. Whilst humane stunning methods have been developed for some commonly farmed species, for other species which are farmed in large numbers, there are, as yet, no validated methods of humane stunning[1]. The HSA believes that finfish should be humanely stunned before slaughter to preclude the possibility of pain and suffering. To support this aim, the HSA wishes to support scientific research which will lead to a significant increase in the number of farmed finfish which are humanely stunned.

This award, or awards, will support scientific research to identify humane stunning methods and parameters for commercial large-scale slaughter of farmed finfish species for which satisfactory stunning parameters or methods have not been determined and validated.  

Before submitting concept notes, potential applicants may wish to consider (but should not be limited by) information within the HSA report on Humane Slaughter of Finfish Farmed Around the World, available at: www.hsa.org.uk/publications/conference--workshop-reports

Project(s) should identify and/or validate a method for stunning farmed finfish undergoing a typical commercial-scale harvest which is humane (causes the minimum pain, suffering or distress); commercially viable; and practical, so that the method is likely to be adopted by industry.

Projects should include:

  • a comprehensive assessment of the welfare impact of the proposed stunning method using behavioural, physiological and neurophysiological/neurological measures of welfare (e.g. pain and/or distress), as appropriate.
  • measurements of time to loss of consciousness, the time between loss of consciousness and death or the duration of loss of consciousness if the stun is recoverable. Behavioural indicators of consciousness need to be validated against other (eg neurological) measures.
  • for methods intended to induce an immediate stun and which when used for routine commercial slaughter involve application of the intended stunning treatment for multiple seconds (eg conventional electrical stunning) applications must describe how the immediacy of stunning (ie cessation of consciousness) will be objectively measured to confirm that the chosen parameters can generate unconsciousness as rapidly as possible (to minimise the possibility of suffering during initial stun application).
  • an assessment of the effect of the chosen stunning method/parameters on product/meat quality under routine commercial harvesting/slaughter conditions. This is essential to demonstrate that the proposed method will produce meat of acceptable commercial quality.
  • an analysis of the feasibility of large-scale commercial use of the method. This should include estimates of the cost of installation and operating the equipment and the impact on the quality or value of the product. (The recent European Commission report “Welfare of farmed fish: Common practices during transport and at slaughter”[2] contains some examples demonstrating the economic impact of adoption of high-welfare practices during transport and slaughter of farmed fish.)
  • a brief explanation of how the project will (as a minimum) meet the eligibility, reporting quality and methodological criteria set out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for studies evaluating the effectiveness of stunning interventions, when these are technically applicable/feasible for the proposed species and stunning method[3].

All proposals must pay due regard to the principles of the 3Rs, including providing a clear justification for the number of animals used in experiments (including the appropriate power calculations). Applicants may wish to use the NC3Rs Experimental Design Assistant (https://eda.nc3rs.org.uk/) or a similar tool to help with the design of studies and include output from such tools with their application.

Proposed projects should also incorporate a dissemination plan to ensure that stunning parameters, techniques and equipment which are identified as humane are publicised as widely as possible, maximising the likelihood of their adoption by industry globally. 

Total funding of up to £750,000 is available. Applicants may apply for some or all of the funding and applications can address one or more finfish species. The HSA may divide the award/funds between multiple proposals, eg between a number of proposals addressing a single species or to a single proposal which addresses multiple species. 

Funding will be allocated on the basis of the scientific quality of the applications; the number of animals affected (eg number of individuals of that species which are slaughtered each year); the practicality and likelihood of widespread adoption of the method by industry; and the value for money of the proposals.

Once awarded, funds may be expended over a maximum of six years.

[1] Humane Slaughter of Finfish Farmed Around the World – Humane Slaughter Association (www.hsa.org.uk/reports)

[2] Welfare of farmed fish. Common practices during transport and at slaughter: final report. https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/facddd32-cda6-11e7-a5d5-01aa75ed71a1/language-en/format-PDF/source-49981830  doi: 10.2875/172078

[3] EFSA  Panel on Animal Health and Welfare (2013) Guidance for Assessing Stunning Effectiveness Studies, EFSA Journal 2013;11(12):3486  https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/3486 doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2013.3486

 

 


Welfare of crustaceans and/or cephalopods during slaughter (up to £1,043,000). This award is now closed.

Many crustaceans (eg crabs and lobsters) and cephalopods (eg octopus, cuttlefish and squid) are slaughtered for food without stunning. There is a lack of practical and scientifically validated humane stunning methods for these species and the HSA therefore wishes to support the development or validation of humane stunning methods which will preclude the possibility of decapod crustaceans and/or cephalopods experiencing pain or distress at the time of slaughter.

This award offers support for scientific research to identify and/or validate potential humane stunning methods/parameters for commercial large-scale slaughter (for consumption) of decapod crustaceans (crabs and lobsters particularly) and/or of coleoid cephalopod molluscs (cuttlefish, octopus, squid).  Projects could test whether existing methods do indeed produce a humane stun or seek to identify novel, commercially-viable/practical methods which are likely to be humane.  

This award can also be used to support fundamental research to identify indicators of states of consciousness and/or poor welfare in these species since it may be necessary to characterise these states in order to determine the humaneness of stunning techniques. 

Projects to develop or validate stunning methods should include:

  • a comprehensive assessment of the welfare impact of the proposed stunning method using behavioural; physiological and neurophysiological/neurological measures of welfare (eg pain and/or distress); as appropriate.
  • measurements of time to loss of consciousness, the time between loss of consciousness and death or the duration of loss of consciousness if the stun is recoverable. Behavioural indicators of consciousness need to be validated against other (eg neurological) measures.
  • for methods intended to induce an immediate stun and which when used for routine commercial slaughter involve application of the intended stunning treatment for multiple seconds (eg conventional electrical stunning) applications must describe how the immediacy of stunning (ie cessation of consciousness) will be objectively measured to confirm that the chosen parameters can generate unconsciousness as rapidly as possible to minimise the possibility of suffering during initial stun application.
  • an assessment of the effect of the chosen stunning method/parameters on product/meat quality under routine commercial harvesting/slaughter conditions. This is essential to demonstrate that the proposed method will produce meat of acceptable commercial quality
  • an analysis of the feasibility of large-scale commercial use of the method. This may include estimates of the cost of installation and operating the equipment and the impact on the quality/value of the product. (The recent European Commission report “Welfare of farmed fish: Common practices during transport and at slaughter”2 contains some examples demonstrating the economic impact of adoption of high-welfare practices during transport and slaughter of farmed fish.)
  • a brief explanation of how the project will (as a minimum) meet the eligibility, reporting quality and methodological criteria set out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for studies evaluating the effectiveness of stunning interventions, where these are technically applicable/feasible for the proposed and stunning method3

Before submitting concept notes, potential applicants may wish to consider (but should not be limited by) information within the HSA report on Humane Slaughter of Finfish Farmed Around the World, which, whilst it if focussed on the slaughter of finfish examines many issues also relevant to the slaughter of crustaceans and cepaholopods. The report is available at: www.hsa.org.uk/reports

Total funding of up to £1,043,000 is available.  Applicants may apply for some or all of the funding and applications can be combined if applicants wish to address the humane slaughter of both crustaceans and cephalopods.  The HSA may divide the award/funds between two or more proposals. Funding will be allocated on the basis of the scientific quality of the applications, number of animals affected (eg number of species to which the method is potentially applicable combined with the number of individuals of that species which are slaughtered each year), the practicality and likelihood of widespread adoption of the method by industry and the value for money of the proposals.

Once awarded, funds may be expended over a maximum of six years.

[1] Humane Slaughter of Finfish Farmed Around the World – Humane Slaughter Association (www.hsa.org.uk/reports)

[2] Welfare of farmed fish. Common practices during transport and at slaughter: final report. https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/facddd32-cda6-11e7-a5d5-01aa75ed71a1/language-en/format-PDF/source-49981830  doi: 10.2875/172078

[3] EFSA  Panel on Animal Health and Welfare (2013) Guidance for Assessing Stunning Effectiveness Studies, EFSA Journal 2013;11(12):3486  https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/3486 doi: 10.2903/j.efsa.2013.3486

 

Eligibility for all awards

Applications can be from commercial companies, academic institutions or any other organisation suitably qualified to carry out the research. We welcome applications from consortia where, for instance, academic and industrial partners collaborate on a project.

Funds can be spent on research costs (eg equipment, animals, travel, open-access publication of the research), staff salaries, student stipends or any other direct cost of the proposed project. The HSA does not normally support university overheads or other indirect costs.

Due to the source of funding for these projects, all grant funds awarded as part of this award must be used exclusively for activities conducted outside the United States of America.

Funds may only be used for scientific research. Funds must not be used for propaganda, campaigning or to attempt to influence legislation.

Application Process

Initial applications should be made in the form of a concept note that briefly summarises the proposed project. Concept notes must be submitted on the form available above.

Concept notes will be reviewed, and shortlisted applicants will be asked to submit a detailed proposal. An invitation to submit a full detailed proposal does not guarantee that any funding will be awarded.

Deadline for receipt of completed concept notes – Thursday 31 May 2018

For any enquiries please contact info@hsa.org.uk

Humane Slaughter Association • The Old School • Brewhouse Hill • Wheathampstead • Hertfordshire • AL4 8AN • UK Tel: +44(0)1582 831919 • Fax: +44(0)1582 831414 • Email: info@hsa.org.uk • www.hsa.org.uk

Registered in England, Charity No 1159690.  Charitable Incorporated Organisation

 

 

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