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EU legislation on slaughtering practices aims to minimise the pain and suffering of animals through the use of properly approved stunning and killing methods, based on scientific knowledge and practical experience.

The first Council Directive 74/577/EC on stunning animals before slaughter was replaced in 1993 by Council Directive 93/119/EEC covering a wider range of animals and slaughter circumstances.

The Council reached a political agreement on 22 June 2009 on a new Regulation on the protection of animals at the time of killing that will replace the present legislation.