Henan is set to become the first province in the country to introduce humane methods for killing animals as part of new national guidelines on animal slaughter.
The province has been chosen to conduct the pilot phase of a plan to enhance animal welfare, the Zhengzhou-based Henan Commercial News reported yesterday.
Under a new code of practice for the humane killing of animals, affecting mainly pigs during the trial, the beasts should be treated as painlessly as possible before being slaughtered.
A source from the livestock and poultry slaughter administrative office affiliated to the Ministry of Commerce told China Daily yesterday that a new humane killing method is being studied.
"We will be organizing a professional panel to review it tomorrow," said the source who asked not to be named, adding that details of the standard will be officially released soon.
The slaughtering of pigs is currently carried out under old guidelines that include showering and knocking out the hogs before slaughter.
The new standard includes shortening the interval between knocking the pigs out and killing them to 15 seconds, from 30 seconds previously, to lessen the pain felt by the animals.
The authorities said it will punish those who carry out inhumane practices such as killing the pigs when they are still conscious.
Detailed guidelines on the transportation and killing of animals will also be stipulated to minimize pain and suffering of the animals, the source said.
Fan Rongcheng, an official with the Henan provincial commerce bureau, said Henan won the honor of carrying out the trial thanks to its leading position in raising and producing livestock products.
The province supplies 60 million pigs to the industry every year.
As a major meat producer, China processes 70 million tons of pork, beef and lamb annually.
Its pork production, about 50 million tons each year, makes up almost half of the world's total output.
Starting next year, training on humane killing methods will be carried out in more than 20,000 commercial slaughterhouses across the country.
Source: China Daily