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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 8 October 2001 Issue

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SLAUGHTERING OF POULTRY:
Longer Journeys Equal Higher Mortality

chickentrans.jpg (10048 bytes)Longer journeys to processing plants are associated with higher mortality in broiler chickens.

24 Changes in the somatosensory evoked potentials and spontaneous electroencephalogram of hens during stunning with a carbon dioxide and argon mixture.

Abstract: A previous investigation indicated that when hens were exposed to 2% oxygen in argon (anoxia) EEG suppression and loss of SEPs occurred at 17 and 29 s after exposure.  In this study, hens were exposed to 49% carbon dioxide in air (hypercapnic hypoxia) or 31% carbon dioxide with 2% oxygen in argon (hypercapnic anoxia) and their spontaneous electroence- phalogram (EEG) and somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) were investigated.  chickenslaughter.jpg (8026 bytes)The results indicated that EEG suppression and loss of SEPs occurred in 11 and 26 s, respectively, in hypercapnic hypoxia.  These events occurred at 11 and 19 s, respectively, after exposure to hypercapnic anoxia.  These results indicated that, with regard to preslaughter stunning/killing of chickens, a mixture of 31% carbon dioxide with 2% oxygen in argon resulted in a more rapid loss of evoked responses in the brain when compared with 49% carbon dioxide in air or with 2% oxygen in argon. It is concluded that stunning chickens with low concentrations of carbon dioxide in argon would result in a more rapid loss of consciousness.

(Chickens are crammed into cages for transport and hung up-side-down in leg clamps, while still conscious.  All of which increases stress and panic in the birds.)

Reference:

24 NAL Call. No.: 41.8 V643 Changes in the somatosensory evoked potentials and spontaneous electroencephalogram of hens during stunning with a carbon dioxide and argon mixture. Mohan Raj, A.B.; Wotton, S.B.; Gregory, N.G. London : Bailliere Tindall; 1992 Mar. British veterinary journal v. 148 (2): p. 147-156; 1992 Mar. Includes references.

SOURCE: http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/pubs/oldbib/qb9505.htm

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