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You are here: HomeGrants & AwardsHumane Slaughter Award

Humane Slaughter Award

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, poultry or fish) during transport, marketing and slaughter, or killing for disease control. 

The HSA is keen to receive applications or nominations relating to:

  • Advances in science or technological developments which have led or are leading to advances in humane slaughter, or killing for disease control.
  • Improvements to the welfare of animals during transport, marketing and slaughter.
  • Research which has provided important knowledge on the welfare of animals during transport, marketing and slaughter, or killing for disease control..

Nomination procedure

Nominations are now closed.

Further information
If further information is required, please contact HSA directly via email: grants@hsa.org.uk or telephone: +44 (0) 1582 831919. 



2022 winner

Dr Mette S Herskin


The Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) has announced the winner of its Humane Slaughter Award.  Dr Mette S. Herskin, a Senior Researcher in the Department of Animal Science at Aarhus University, Denmark, is the 2022 recipient of the award.

The Humane Slaughter Award recognises individuals or organisations that have made major scientific advances in the welfare of livestock during transport, marketing and slaughter, or killing for disease control.

Dr Herskin’s research links ethology and veterinary science, with a particular focus on the behaviour of farm animals when kept in conditions that may challenge their welfare. In the last decade alone, she and her team have published 19 peer-reviewed articles focusing on animal transport, lairage, and slaughter as well as reviewing the difficulties associated with the assessment of fitness for transport. In the same space of time, Dr Herskin has championed scientific communication on the subject, contributing abstracts to over 20 conferences and symposia, delivering lectures to members of the public and writing textbooks.  Dr Herskin is also a member of the EFSA Animal Health and Welfare Panel, and chair of the working group assessing animal welfare during transport.

The award will be presented to Dr Herskin at the HSA International Conference: Livestock Welfare during Transport, Marketing & Slaughter in Edinburgh, UK on 30th June and 1st July 2022. Dr Herskin will also be delivering a plenary talk about her work focusing on the cull sow during the event.

Dr Huw Golledge, HSA’s Chief Executive and Scientific Director, said: “I am delighted that the HSA has recognised Dr Herskin’s drive to advocate evidence-based changes and improvements to animal welfare during transport, lairage and slaughter. In particular, her focus on welfare during transport to slaughter is something the HSA is delighted to recognise as there are significant opportunities to improve animal welfare using evidence such as that produced by Dr Herskin.

Not only has Dr Herskin contributed significantly to the evidence-base in this area, but she has also worked tirelessly to communicate the findings of her research with a wide audience. I am looking forward to hearing more details about Dr Herskin’s work at the HSA International Conference in July.”

2021 winner
Dr Carmen Gallo

The HSA is pleased to announce the winner of its 2021 Humane Slaughter Award: Dr Carmen Gallo, founder of the Animal Welfare Programme at the Universidad Austral de Chile. The award recognises individuals or organisations that have made major scientific advances in the welfare of livestock during transport, marketing and slaughter, or killing for disease control. It will be presented to Dr Gallo in recognition of her outstanding leadership, dedication and commitment to enhancing livestock welfare in Chile and Latin America.

Dr Gallo has been a pioneer in this field since the 1970s. Her stakeholder and outreach work has been exemplary, showing leadership and tenacity, especially at the beginning of her career when the welfare of livestock species was not widely appreciated by the meat industry. Her published work includes more than 100 research articles directly related to animal welfare during transport, marketing and slaughter. She has also mentored many undergraduate and post-graduate students working in Chile and Latin America. 

The award will be presented to Dr Gallo during an online event which will be held at 1500 BST (UTC+1) on Tuesday 12th October. During the event Dr Gallo will give a presentation on her work, which laid the foundation for animal welfare legislation in Chile. There will also be a Q&A session, allowing attendees to gain further insight into Dr Gallo’s work and experiences. More information about the event, including registration details, can be found here www.hsa.org.uk/awardwebinar

HSA’s Chief Executive Huw Golledge said: “I’m delighted that the HSA has recognised Dr Gallo’s pioneering work to promote humane slaughter and transport of livestock species. Dr Gallo’s evidence-based, pragmatic approach to bringing about real-world improvements in animal welfare very much mirrors the HSA’s. I’m very much looking forward to hearing details of her work at the online award ceremony in October”.

2019 winner

Dr Dorothy McKeegan


The Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) has announced that Dr Dorothy McKeegan from the University of Glasgow has been awarded the 2019 Humane Slaughter Award for her groundbreaking research into the welfare impacts of controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) and her outstanding and sustained contribution to protecting animal welfare at slaughter or killing.

Dr McKeegan has had an exceptional career leading applied animal welfare research with a focus on welfare at slaughter or killing, combining behavioural approaches with physiological and neurophysiological techniques.  She pioneered the first comprehensive research into the welfare impacts of CAS and her findings had a substantial and international influence on poultry welfare, directly informing the choice of permitted gas mixtures for the killing of poultry in the EU (via the EU regulation 1099/2009 On the Protection of Animals at the Time of Killing).

Most recently, Dr McKeegan was invited to lead an international research team carrying out ground-breaking welfare assessment of Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning (LAPS) in poultry and was instrumental in producing an application to the European Commission to allow the use of LAPS in poultry, which was added to the EU Directive 2018/723 (amendment to 1099/2009) in May 2018. This was the first new stunning method to successfully navigate the EFSA guidelines and approval process since its inception in 2010.  She is the Principal Investigator of a major new project, co-funded by DEFRA and the HSA, aiming to determine whether LAPS in pigs can provide a humane alternative to stunning with carbon dioxide.

Dr McKeegan is a leading consultant to international animal and food industries and an international scientific authority on welfare assessment during killing in poultry.  She is the author of over 50 publications, 20 of which are directly related to welfare at slaughter and killing.

As well as her extensive research career, Dr McKeegan has been at the forefront of educating future generations in animal welfare and ethics, both in under- and post-graduate study.  Professor Malcolm Mitchell, who was one of the people who nominated Dr McKeegan for the award said: “She is an inspirational scientist, in a demanding area of welfare research, motivating and training the next generation of scientists to work in this challenging field.” 

Dr Robert Hubrecht, Chief Executive and Scientific Director of HSA said: “Collectively, Dr McKeegan’s work represents an outstanding and sustained contribution to the field of animal welfare at the time of killing.  Her research has had significant real-world impacts, with ongoing influence both practically and in policy development.”

When asked about her hopes for the future in terms of animal welfare improvements, Dr McKeegan said:  “My work aims to improve welfare conditions at slaughter.  Poultry are especially challenging given the very large numbers of birds involved and their low individual value, but we have a responsibility to protect their welfare.  I hope we can continue to make progress towards the goal of a good death for all farmed animals.” 

The Humane Slaughter Award recognises individuals or organisations that have made major scientific advances in the welfare of livestock during slaughter, transport or killing for disease control and is now in its 10th year.  The 2019 award was presented to Dr McKeegan at the HSA’s Conference on the 9th of October at which Dr McKeegan presented a paper on LAPS for poultry and pigs.


2018 winner:

Professor Bo Algers

The Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) has announced the winner of its 2018 Humane Slaughter Award. The award, which recognises individuals or organisations that have made major scientific advances in the welfare of livestock during slaughter, transport or killing for disease control, has been given to Professor Bo Algers of Sweden in recognition of his exemplary work to improve the welfare of food animals.

Professor Algers’ research has included studies on the effects of housing on health and welfare of various farmed species, but he has also made very significant contributions to the advancement of humane farm animal transport and slaughter.  His research has included studies on issues such as electrical stunning of lambs and captive-bolt stun quality and recently, he started research on the welfare of animals stunned and killed in mobile slaughter units.

Highlights from his outstanding career include co-ordinating the welfare quality assessment protocol for cattle at slaughter for the largest ever European research project on animal welfare, WelfareQuality, and founding the research group HATS (Handling of Animals at Research and Slaughter) at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science (SLU), which has achieved international recognition for its work advancing the science of animal welfare. His work also contributed to the Swedish government’s and industry’s support of research of alternative gases to high concentration of CO2 for stunning pigs under commercial conditions.   

Professor Algers remains active in the field of farm animal welfare and is a Diplomate of the European College of Animal Welfare and Behavioral Medicine. Through his mentorship of scientists and students he has inspired many to question how animal welfare at slaughter can be improved and many former students are now considered animal welfare leaders in their own right.  He is now Professor Emeritus but remains very much involved in the ethics of animal husbandry, transport and handling of animals at slaughter and in promoting animal welfare in the public media.

On learning that he had won the award, Professor Algers said: “I feel very honoured to receive the Humane Slaughter Award by the HSA, one of the oldest and most respected charity organisations promoting a humane treatment of all food animals worldwide. I wish to point out that the achievements were reached together with my team of colleagues with Sophie Atkinson, Lotta Berg, Jan Hultgren, Anne Larsen, Rebecka Westin and several others.”  

The award was presented to Professor Algers at the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare 2018 conference at the Centre for Life, Newcastle, on the 28th of June.  HSA Chief Executive & Scientific Director Dr Robert Hubrecht, who made the presentation, said: “Professor Algers’ considerable achievements throughout his career are a testament to his dedication and commitment to the welfare of animals, including at or around slaughter, and he is a very worthy recipient of this award.”

Previous winners

2017 winners:

Mr Peter Kettlewell and Professor Malcolm Mitchell

The Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) has announced the joint winners of its 2017 Humane Slaughter Award. The award, which recognises individuals or organisations that have made major scientific advances in the welfare of livestock during slaughter, transport or killing for disease control, has been given to Mr Peter Kettlewell and Professor Malcolm Mitchell of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) in recognition of the developments they have made in improving the welfare of food animals during transportation.   

The two have collaborated since 1984 and their research on thermal stress in animals during transport has been a major contribution to improved animal health, welfare and productivity.  Originally working at the Silsoe and Roslin Institutes, they used a unique combination of physical, engineering, physiological and behavioural techniques: These include theoretical modelling, physiological modelling, stress and welfare assessment, ventilation and vehicle design, wind tunnel testing, full-scale on road testing and practical measurements during commercial transport under a wide range of conditions in the UK, Europe and North America.  This work was combined with developments in novel sensor technologies to monitor the physiological condition of animals in real transport environments. An important finding was that contrary to intuition, in a moving livestock container, air flows from the back to the front and this has a major influence on the internal thermal micro-environment of the vehicle. The understanding of such physical phenomena and principles led to the design and development and application of in-built forced ventilation systems, especially in poultry vehicles, which have improved the welfare of millions of animals in transit. 

Since joining SRUC they have successfully continued their long standing research collaboration on animal transportation. Their current work is chiefly related to the long distance transport of pigs and calves within Europe and the effects of weather, thermal conditions and journey duration on animal welfare in transit. Both scientists have advised Defra and the industry on welfare issues relating to animal transport and production environments and serve on the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) committees addressing animal transport legislation as well as working extensively with collaborators in the UK, other European countries, Canada, USA and South Africa. Recently they have been major contributors to Guides to Good Practice for animal and poultry transport developed by FVO, DG SANTE and a European research consortium.

Dr Jeff Lines from the Silsoe Institute, who was one of the nominating sponsors for the pair said: “Peter and Malcolm’s partnership has created a unique and valuable body of knowledge…. Their work has led to significant improvements in the transport industry and in the regulations concerned with protecting animal welfare during transport.”

The award was presented to the winners at the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare 2017 International Symposium at Royal Holloway, University of London, on the 28th of June.

2016 Winner:

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.

2015 Winner:

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. 


2014 Winner:

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).

2013 Winner:

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.

2012 Winner:

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.




2011 Winner:

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. 

2009 Winner:

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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