CO2 shortages are forcing slaughterhouses in England and Scotland to cease activity amidst concerns of overcrowding. Slaughterhouses in Scotland are facing the shortage, and sister factories in the UK are not far behind. CO2 is used as a method to stun animals before slaughter, with stunning animals being part of UK law.
According to Farmers Guardian, there will be no further slaughtering after Monday’s intake of animals, and some animals will remain on farms.
CO2 producers in northern Europe have been out of business due to maintenance, with only one producer still in action. The gas is expected to run out by Tuesday, as reported by the BBC. Limited information from CO2 gas providers is stalling any plans being made by meat producers.
Quality Pork Limited, Tulip and the Scottish Pork Producers are affected by the CO2 shortages. Pigs are typically gassed in chambers to stun them before being sent to slaughter. The poultry industry is also believed to be affected.
Animal welfare risks such as overcrowding are concerns with meat producers; however, the greater issue for many people is the double standard that overcrowding is an animal welfare concern as opposed to the unnecessary killing of animals that is carried out by slaughterhouses and meat producers daily.
The meat industry believes that they are a priority over soft drinks producers, such as Coca Cola, who use the gas to make drinks fizzy. As they deal with live animals, they “have been asking to be treated as a priority”, due to the animal welfare risks associated with overcrowding.
It is unclear what will happen with animals that are not being sent to slaughter, or what is going happen to the animals when the CO2 runs out regarding where they will be kept.