The closure of at least five gas producers in northern Europe has caused a shortage of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the gas used to stun farm animals pre-slaughter, causing some abattoirs to experience a welfare issues such as overcrowding. Gasworld publication has reported that gas producers have been offline due to maintenance problems, which they hope to sort by early July.
Scotland’s biggest pig processor Quality Pork Limited which slaughters 6,000 pigs a week, is said to run out of gas on Tuesday. To avoid animal welfare issues, it has suggested that it will send some pigs to the English meat processor Tulip, yet this is not a long term solution.
CO2 is used to make carbonated drinks fizz, and as there is only one large gas producer running as usual, companies such as Coca-Cola, Heineken and Holden are also having to monitor production carefully.
Coca-Cola has been forced to temporarily pause their production, yet they have stated that supplies to customers have not been effected. Beer manufacture Holden have also been effected, and operations director Mark Hammond stated “We are going to do maintenance and a deep clean. But as of [Monday] morning, we have 25 people sitting around doing nothing.”
Although the CO2 shortage is proving to have an effect on a variety of companies across the UK, the mean industry has been asked to be the priority. UK’s Meat Processors’ Association explained: “Our processors deal with live animals. The CO2 shortage has the potential to become an animal welfare issue. We have been asking to be treated as a priority.”
The British Poultry Association (BPA) added: “We are involved with live animals. They are a priority.”