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Humane Slaughter Initiative

Shrimp Welfare Project is a UK-registered charity committed to promoting a more humane slaughter method for farmed shrimps.

On a limited time basis until the end of 2025, SWP is seeking to provide ~24 shrimp producers with an electrical stunner, free-of-charge, on the condition that these producers are willing and able to use it with some basic requirements.

The goal is to accelerate the adoption of electrical stunning across the industry, in advance of foreseeable changes in buyer, certifier and legislation requirements.

What is the initiative? 

The Humane Slaughter Initiative aims to promote the adoption of electrical stunning technology in the shrimp industry. We achieve this goal by providing the first electrical stunners for certain producers, who commit to stun a minimum of 1,500-2,000 metric tons of shrimp per annum. The programme also intends to prove the feasibility of humane slaughter across a number of regions, contexts and different farming systems globally.

Why collaborate with us?

  • SWP is the first organisation exclusively focused on shrimp welfare.

  • SWP can provide free-of-charge equipment to improve shrimp welfare in the slaughter process

  • You could also improve your standing with buyers and certifiers of higher-welfare shrimps.

  • You would become a pioneering supplier of higher-welfare shrimps.

Why is it important?

  • Shrimp sentience has been established in scientific literature and recognised in legislation in various jurisdictions. 

  • Consumers all over the world are increasingly demanding higher welfare standards for the animal protein that they eat (See SWP’s report on Consumer Attitudes Towards Shrimp Welfare). Retailers play the role of guardians and guarantors of their customers' preferences, and therefore, are actively trying to improve the way that the animals in their supply chain are raised and slaughtered.

  • A number of forward-thinking retailers (e.g. M&S,  John Lewis Partnership, and Albert Heijn) have already made public commitments to using electrical stunning in all of their farmed shrimp supply chains. We expect the group of welfare-conscious retailers to continue to increase dramatically in the coming years.

  • Experts on crustacean and shrimp welfare have identified electrical stunning as the most humane stunning pre-slaughter practice currently available for shrimps. It is more effective and significantly faster than immersion in ice slurry and asphyxia at rendering shrimps unconscious before slaughter. 

  • We are cognisant that electrical stunning equipment is a significant investment for shrimp producers, particularly in the current market environment. On the other hand, we are convinced that electrical stunning will inevitably become standard procedure in farmed shrimp harvest and slaughter.


Optimar electrical stunner

Ace Aquatec electrical stunner

Disclaimer: SWP is a UK-registered charity with no commercial ties to Optimar, Ace Aquatec, or any other organisation involved in this programme.

Current collaborators

We are proud to have partnered with the following producers to provide them with stunning equipment:


Are we eligible for consideration?

SWP welcomes applications and referrals for any producers meeting the following criteria:

  • Min stunned volume of 1,500-2,000 MT/year (or slightly less if it is likely to lead to more stunners being used).

  • ‘Good’ (or improving) welfare practices in other areas, e.g. no eyestalk ablation, water quality, stocking density.

  • Ability to safely integrate stunner (transport, power, usage) directly at each pond/harvesting site.

  • Agreement to support occasional and pre-agreed visits by other parties considering stunner adoption.

What’s required from each party?

If eligible, full requirements will be outlined in a draft MOU for review. In general terms, the buyer agrees to prioritise humanely slaughtered producers, the producer agrees to minimum volumes stunned, and SWP agrees to pay for the price of the stunner. Please note that the producer is responsible for all freight and import duties (if any).

How do we transport / maintain the unit?

The stunner can be transported by small truck or mounted as a mobile unit. The units are robust and much of the tech has been well proven in the finfish industry. Maintenance is typically light and full training / support will be provided by Optimar.

What are the overall timelines?

Subject to sign-off on the MOU by all parties, Optimar have a lead time from order to delivery of ~6 months. This is typically a 4 month build, plus 1-2 months shipping. It may be possible to reduce timelines where SWP coordinates multiple unit orders in parallel.

Can we keep the unit / buy more?

SWP grants the producer indefinite usage, but retains ownership of the equipment and can reclaim if agreed terms are not being met - for instance minimum volumes, welfare standards, equipment cleaning/maintenance, etc. Current funding allows for one unit per producer only; further units would need to be analysed and negotiated in good faith after a minimum period of 12 months of successful utilisation

How to apply?

For a limited period, Shrimp Welfare Project is willing to provide electrical stunning equipment to producers who fulfil certain minimum requirements. Given our limited financial resources, we want to find the best candidates to receive the sponsored equipment based on whether they have potentially interested buyers and the volume of shrimps that they would be able to commit to using the equipment for.

Please fill out the form below if you are interested in being considered to receive electrical shrimp stunning equipment sponsored by SWP.

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