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Conference abstract2015

Animal welfare at slaughter – A social learning process

Algers, Anne; Berg, Lotta


Animal welfare is of high interest to citizens and consumers. Furthermore, animal welfare at slaughter is an area covered by extensive legislation at the EU level, mainly through EC Regulation 1099/2009 which requires training and certificate of competence for slaughterhouse staff. Dealing with complex issues with ethical concerns, such as animal welfare, requires a process of learning by every member of society. Such learning must also continue throughout life, as an ongoing adaptation to emerging challenges and new scientific findings. This can best be achieved when the learning is based on curiosity, collaboration, and grounded in real-life experience and situations. Such social interactions constitute the basis for social learning. Thus, animal welfare is in need of a social learning process. The use of Open Educational Resources (OER) is a way to meet the challenge of this new learning approach. The term (OER), meaning digital material released with an intellectual property license that allows for free use, adaptation, and distribution, was adopted at a UNESCO meeting in 2002. OER can be used for both formal and informal learning. The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) has, with financial support from the national authorities and in collaboration with slaughterhouses and NGO’s, developed an OER on Animal Welfare at Slaughter and Killing. It includes 650 webpages, 800 illustrations, 150 video clips, learning objectives, interactivities and take-home messages. Publishing photos and video footage showing slaughter is not uncontroversial as such pictures can be perceived as aversive by some, and the umbrella organisations for slaughter houses feared that such pictures would be used by animal rights groups to discredit abattoirs. Hence, placing the material behind a password barrier was suggested. However, the aim is to provide free access to everybody to the knowledge we have today about animal welfare in relation to handling of animals at slaughter and killing and to support local efforts in improving animal welfare. The material is now available at and can be accessed and used by anyone, including various course organizers. A translation into English is underway. With reference to the wisdom of the crowd it can be argued that collectively developed resources are of higher quality than those the individual can develop on their own. OER practices, in its more radical form, can be seen as an integrated, open and formative peer review, conducted in real time in front of the eyes of anybody interested.

Published in

Title: Recent Advances II : HSA International Symposium 2015, 16th-17th July, Zagreb, Croatia

Publisher: Human Slaughter Association (HSA)


HSA International Symposium 2015: Recent advances II