Skip to main content

Expertise / Opinion

Stress assessment in mobile abattoirs

Farm animals

Species: Bovines, Ovines, Pigs, Poultry


Full title: Revised Opinion from the FRCAW on the assessment of stress in animals during the Mobile-Abattoir Pilot Project
Requested by:
Office for Slaughter and Cutting Establishments (animal welfareD) - French Directorate General for Food (DGAL) - French Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Date of request: 13/06/2019
Delivery date: 31/07/2020


Given the strong public demand for the protection of animals at slaughter, mobile abattoirs appear to offer a solution that avoids or reduces the transport of animals to the abattoir (‘the abattoir comes to the farm’) and allows farmers to control the conditions under which their animals are slaughtered. Mobile abattoirs are thus well-placed to take advantage of the enthusiasm expressed by a proportion of the public for short supply chains, local selling and the return of a traditional practice considered to be more natural and more beneficial for animal welfare. However, no mobile abattoir has as yet been licenced in France, meaning that it has not been possible to study how and under what conditions such facilities function and, in particular, the actual impact of these facilities on the stress experienced by animals at the moment of slaughter and on animal welfare. It is also clear that the methodology necessary for such an assessment remains to be devised, as this assessment must be carried out during routine operations and not within an experimental environment.

In the context of the mobile-abattoir pilot project authorised in article 73 of the Act of 30 October 2018 to maintain balance in agricultural and food markets and the provision of food that is healthy, sustainable and accessible to all, the FRCAW was requested by the DGAL to identify criteria that are practicable (and are, if possible, quantifiable) to assess the stress and welfare of animals during on-farm slaughter in mobile abattoirs and to specify a method to assess the effects of such mobile-abattoir arrangements on animal welfare for the purpose of confirming/disproving the possible benefits for welfare when compared with slaughter in fixed-site abattoir facilities and following transport.

The FRCAW’s recommendations were used to create a Technical Specification Schedule (TSS) issued as part of a public tender process for the selection of one or more provider(s) charged with the assessment of the potential impact of mobile abattoirs on the stress and welfare of animals.

Main conclusions of the FRCAW

The conclusions are presented in the form of recommendations throughout the document.