Animal Stress and Welfare during Transport and Slaughtering

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Welfare".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2024) | Viewed by 15668

Special Issue Editor


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Retired from Livestock Research, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Interests: stress physiology; pain assessment; electronic identification; transport; handling; stunning; euthanasia; welfare
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

There is a lot of discussion about the transportation of farm animals. The main issues are welfare, meat quality, legislation, consumer concerns and economic aspects. The main hazards identified for transported animals are common for all the species. Hazards characterized as serious are inadequate ventilation, insufficient space allowance, transport duration, lack of appropriate food and water during transport, incorrect handling during (un)loading, poor fitness prior to transport, introduction of pathogens before and during transport and the inappropriate application of resting periods during transport. Loading at the farm and unloading at the slaughterhouse have been considered the most stressful preslaughter events.

After arrival, the animals need to be placed in a lairage before slaughter. Stress is related to interaction with humans handling through ramps, steps and tight spaces, unfamiliar noises and smells, vibrations, ambient temperatures and mixing with unfamiliar animals and low space allowance.

It is necessary that slaughter animals need to be well restrained for an optimal stunning. In the restrainer, the animals are stunned by mechanical, electrical or gas methods. The use of no stunning method as an exception is possible for ritual slaughter in some countries. The stun–stick interval and maintenance are relevant for all stunning methods. After stunning, the unconsciousness of the animals needs to be checked.

Dr. Elbert Lambooij
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • slaughter animals
  • welfare
  • meat quality
  • legislation
  • consumers concern
  • movement
  • handling
  • economic aspects

Published Papers (9 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

22 pages, 1917 KiB  
Article
Movements after Captive Bolt Stunning in Cattle and Possible Animal- and Process-Related Impact Factors—A Field Study
by Anika Lücking, Helen Louton, Martin von Wenzlawowicz, Michael Erhard and Karen von Holleben
Animals 2024, 14(7), 1112; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14071112 - 4 Apr 2024
Viewed by 1481
Abstract
Movements in cattle after captive bolt stunning cause problems in the slaughter process and lead to uncertainties in assessing stunning effectiveness. The objective of this study was to categorize and quantify these movements and determine animal- and process-related impact factors, as well as [...] Read more.
Movements in cattle after captive bolt stunning cause problems in the slaughter process and lead to uncertainties in assessing stunning effectiveness. The objective of this study was to categorize and quantify these movements and determine animal- and process-related impact factors, as well as connections to stunning effectiveness and shooting position. In total 2911 cows, heifers, and bulls (dairy, beef, and crossbreeds) were examined (mean age 3.02 years). Movements from landing until at least four minutes after sticking were recorded by action cams (Apeman® A100). Nine movement categories were defined (“kicking hind limb”, “twitching”, “bending and stretching hind limb”, “lifting and bending forelimb”, “body arching laterally”, “body arching ventrally”, and “arching backwards”). According to the movement severity, a score was assigned to each category. The scores were summed, either for certain process intervals, e.g., LANDING (ejection from the stunning box), HOISTING, or STICKING, or for the total time between LANDING and end of the FOURTH MINUTE OF BLEEDING (sum score). Statistical analysis (ANOVA) was performed on the scores. Only 6.6% of cattle showed no movement. Most movements occurred during STICKING and FIRST MINUTE OF BLEEDING, occurring rarely up to 8 min after sticking. While cows moved most at LANDING, bulls and heifers moved more if all process intervals were considered. The sum score was highest in German Angus, Charolais, and Limousin and lowest in Brown Swiss and Simmental. The score at LANDING was highest in German Angus and Black Holstein. The use of pneumatic stunners and an increase in bolt-exit length significantly reduced movements. No impact of stunning effectiveness on movements was found, but only 19 cattle showed reduced effectiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Stress and Welfare during Transport and Slaughtering)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

20 pages, 263 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Electrolytic Multivitamins and Neomycin on Antioxidant Capacity and Intestinal Damage in Transported Lambs
by Cui Xia, Chunhui Duan, Conghui Chen, Xinyu Yang, Yingjie Zhang, Yueqin Liu and Yuzhong Ma
Animals 2024, 14(6), 824; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14060824 - 7 Mar 2024
Viewed by 621
Abstract
Transport stress can cause damage to animals. In this experiment, 60 four-month-old lambs were randomly divided into three groups: CG (basal diet), EG (basal diet + 375 mg/d/lamb electrolytic multivitamin), and NG (basal diet + 200 mg/d/lamb neomycin). The results were as follows: [...] Read more.
Transport stress can cause damage to animals. In this experiment, 60 four-month-old lambs were randomly divided into three groups: CG (basal diet), EG (basal diet + 375 mg/d/lamb electrolytic multivitamin), and NG (basal diet + 200 mg/d/lamb neomycin). The results were as follows: during road transport, in all groups, the levels of SOD, T-AOC, and GSP-Px, and mRNA expressions of CAT, SOD, Nrf2, HO-1, and Bcl-2 in the jejunum and colon decreased (p < 0.01). However, mRNA expressions of Keap1, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-12, Bax, and Caspase3 in the jejunum and colon and the level of MDA increased (p < 0.01). The concentrations of IgA, IgG, and sIgA in the jejunum and colon also decreased (p < 0.01). In the EG and NG, the levels of SOD (p < 0.05) and T-AOC (p < 0.01) increased, and the level of MDA decreased (p < 0.01). However, in the jejunum, the levels of SOD and T-AOC, the concentrations of IgA and IgG, and mRNA expression of Bcl-2 increased (p < 0.05). mRNA expressions of IL-1, IL-2, and Caspase 3 (p < 0.05), and mRNA expression of IL-12 (p < 0.01) decreased. In the colon, SOD activity and the concentration of sIgA increased (p < 0.01). The level of MDA and mRNA expressions of IL-2 and Caspase 3 also decreased (p < 0.05). In the jejunum and colon, mRNA expression of SOD (p < 0.05) and mRNA expression of Nrf2 increased (p < 0.01). mRNA expression of Keap1 (p < 0.05) and Bax (p < 0.01) decreased. In summary, road transport can cause a decrease in antioxidant activity and immunity of lambs and an increase in oxidative damage. Electrolytic multivitamins and neomycin can improve immune function and potentially reduce oxidative damage to the jejunum and colon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Stress and Welfare during Transport and Slaughtering)
23 pages, 2057 KiB  
Article
Alternatives to Carbon Dioxide in Two Phases for the Improvement of Broiler Chickens’ Welfare during Stunning
by Daniel Santiago Rucinque, Antonio Velarde, Aida Xercavins, Aranzazu Varvaró-Porter, Troy John Gibson, Virginie Michel and Alexandra Contreras-Jodar
Animals 2024, 14(3), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030486 - 1 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1415
Abstract
This study evaluated the exposure to gas mixtures of carbon dioxide (CO2) associated with nitrogen (N2) as alternatives to CO2 in two phases to improve the welfare of broiler chickens at slaughter. Broilers were exposed to one of [...] Read more.
This study evaluated the exposure to gas mixtures of carbon dioxide (CO2) associated with nitrogen (N2) as alternatives to CO2 in two phases to improve the welfare of broiler chickens at slaughter. Broilers were exposed to one of three treatments: 40C90C (1st phase: <40% CO2 for 2 min; 2nd phase: >90% CO2 and <2% O2 for 2 min, n = 92), 40C60N (40% CO2, 60% N2, and <2% O2 for 4 min, n = 79), or 20C80N (20% CO2, 80% N2, and <2% O2 for 4 min, n = 72). Brain activity (EEG) was assessed to determine the onset of loss of consciousness (LOC) and death. Behavioural assessment allowed for characterisation of an aversive response to the treatments and confirmed loss of posture (LOP) and motionlessness as behavioural proxies of LOC and brain death in 40C60N and 20N80C. However, the lack of quality of the EEG traces obtained in 40C90C did not allow us to determine the onset of LOC and brain death for this treatment. The onset of LOC in 40C60N was found at 19 s [14–30 s] and in 20C80N at 21 s [16–37 s], whereas a LOP was seen at 53 s [26–156 s] in 40C90C. Birds showed brain death in 40C60N at 64 s [43–108 s] and in 20C80N at 70 s [45–88 s]), while they became motionless in 40C90C at 177 s [89–212 s]. The 40C90C birds not only experienced more events of aversive behaviours related to mucosal irritation, dyspnoea, and breathlessness during induction to unconsciousness but were at risk of remaining conscious when the CO2 concentration was increased in the 2nd phase (known to cause severe pain). From an animal welfare point of view, 40C60N proved to be the least aversive of the three treatments tested, followed by 20C80N and 40C90C. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Stress and Welfare during Transport and Slaughtering)
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 2085 KiB  
Article
Farm Animal Welfare during Transport and at the Slaughterhouse: Perceptions of Slaughterhouse Employees, Livestock Drivers, and Veterinarians
by Maja Lipovšek, Andrej Kirbiš, Iztok Tomažič, Alenka Dovč and Manja Križman
Animals 2024, 14(3), 443; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14030443 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1377
Abstract
Animal welfare is a multidimensional concept that includes several physical and psychological parameters of the animal. The aim of this study was to assess animal welfare during transportation and in Slovenian beef, pork, and poultry slaughterhouses. A questionnaire was used for this study. [...] Read more.
Animal welfare is a multidimensional concept that includes several physical and psychological parameters of the animal. The aim of this study was to assess animal welfare during transportation and in Slovenian beef, pork, and poultry slaughterhouses. A questionnaire was used for this study. Several parameters of animal welfare were rated on a 5-point scale, such as health status, animal behavior, lairage or transport vehicle conditions, and driver regulation compliance. The scale was also used for the second part of the study. This consisted of two studies: (1) self-assessment by slaughterhouse employees and livestock transport drivers and (2) animal welfare observational assessment performed by two veterinarians. The results were compared with each other. Ten large slaughterhouses and nine livestock drivers took part in the survey. The results showed that slaughterhouse employees knew more about animal welfare than livestock truck drivers, but both groups were not sufficiently familiar with animal welfare laws and regulations. This study found that the experts’ assessments were generally lower than the self-assessments of employees and livestock drivers. Based on the research findings, it can be concluded that there is a need to improve the awareness and knowledge of slaughterhouse employees and livestock drivers regarding animal handling and animal welfare regulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Stress and Welfare during Transport and Slaughtering)
Show Figures

Figure 1

17 pages, 3331 KiB  
Article
Effects of Electrolyte Multivitamins and Neomycin on Immunity and Intestinal Barrier Function in Transported Lambs
by Cui Xia, Chunhui Duan, Conghui Chen, Xinyu Yang, Yingjie Zhang, Yueqin Liu and Yuzhong Ma
Animals 2024, 14(2), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani14020177 - 5 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 831
Abstract
Animals experience stress when they are transported. In this experiment, sixty 4-month-old lambs were randomly divided into three groups: CG (basal diet), EG (basal diet + 375 mg/d/lamb electrolytic multivitamin) and NG (basal diet + 200 mg/d/lamb neomycin). The transportation day was recorded [...] Read more.
Animals experience stress when they are transported. In this experiment, sixty 4-month-old lambs were randomly divided into three groups: CG (basal diet), EG (basal diet + 375 mg/d/lamb electrolytic multivitamin) and NG (basal diet + 200 mg/d/lamb neomycin). The transportation day was recorded as the 0th day. Blood, liver, spleen, jejunum and colon were collected on the 0th, 7th and 14th day. The results were as follows: In EG and NG groups, the lamb weights (p < 0.01), IgA and IgG (p < 0.05) increased significantly. The concentrations of ACTH, E, COR, IL-1β, IL-6 and IFN-γ decreased significantly (p < 0.01). The content of colonic propionate increased significantly (p < 0.05). The villus height and V/C increased, and crypt depth decreased significantly (p < 0.01). The mRNA expressions of Occludin and MUC1, and the protein expression of Occludin in the jejunal mucosa, the mRNA expressions of ZO-1 and Occludin, and the protein expression in the colonic mucosa increased significantly (p < 0.01). The mRNA expression of TRAF6 and the protein expression of TLR4 in the jejunum decreased significantly (p < 0.05), as well as the mRNA expressions of TLR4, MyD88 and NF-kB, and the protein expression of NF-kB p65 and the mRNA expressions of TRAF6, TLR4 and NF-kB in the colon (p < 0.01). In conclusion, an electrolytic multivitamin could potentially improve the immunity and intestinal barrier function, and when it was added with 375 mg/d in the basal diet for each lamb from 2 d before transportation to 7 d after transportation, it had a better effect than neomycin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Stress and Welfare during Transport and Slaughtering)
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 1554 KiB  
Article
Innovative e-Learning Training Modules to Improve Animal Welfare during Transport and Slaughter of Pigs: A Pretest–Posttest Study to Pre-Evaluate the General Didactical Concept
by Rudi Isbrandt, Nina Langkabel, Marcus G. Doherr, Sebastian Haase and Diana Meemken
Animals 2023, 13(23), 3593; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13233593 - 21 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 875
Abstract
In addition to the information on the possession of a certificate of competence, there are no concrete obligations for repetitive training for personnel handling live animals at transport and slaughter. Deficiencies in the animal-welfare-friendly handling of pigs are known. The developed pilot modules [...] Read more.
In addition to the information on the possession of a certificate of competence, there are no concrete obligations for repetitive training for personnel handling live animals at transport and slaughter. Deficiencies in the animal-welfare-friendly handling of pigs are known. The developed pilot modules “Handling of pigs” and “Electrical stunning” were tested in a pretest–posttest study in German and Romanian using questions of knowledge before and after the implementation of the modules. In this study, 45 and 46 datasets of participants could be analyzed. The mean percentages of correctly answered questions in the posttest increased by 5.6% in the module “Handling of pigs” and by 10.6% in the module “Electrical stunning”. A significant interaction was found for the language match and trend categories in the module “Handling of pigs”. No Romanian native speaker had a positive trend in this module. For both modules separately, participant education level significantly interacted with the language match and the presence or absence of a certificate of competence. Comparing the percentages of the correct given answers, significant interactions in the subgroups were more common in the module “Electrical stunning”. One question in “Electrical stunning” was correctly answered significantly more often in the posttest. Because of the positive mean trends of knowledge within this pre-evaluation, we assume the didactical concept was suitable for our target groups. Holders of a certificate of competence also gave more correct answers in the post-test. This underlines the importance of repetitive training. Differences in the trends of knowledge gain seem to be topic and experience related. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Stress and Welfare during Transport and Slaughtering)
Show Figures

Figure 1

21 pages, 2300 KiB  
Article
How Well Do Dogs Cope with Air Travel? An Owner-Reported Survey Study
by Katrin Jahn, Jacqui Ley, Theresa DePorter and Kersti Seksel
Animals 2023, 13(19), 3093; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13193093 - 4 Oct 2023
Viewed by 2734
Abstract
It is estimated that 2 million domestic animals travel on commercial flights every year in the US alone and that dogs make up 58% of pets travelling worldwide. There has been little research on the welfare effects of air travel on dogs. The [...] Read more.
It is estimated that 2 million domestic animals travel on commercial flights every year in the US alone and that dogs make up 58% of pets travelling worldwide. There has been little research on the welfare effects of air travel on dogs. The purpose of this owner-reported study was to understand how well dogs cope with and recover from air travel from a physical, mental, and emotional health perspective. An online survey questionnaire was distributed globally to pet owners whose dogs had travelled by air in the last 12 months, and the results were collected and analysed. Information was received about dog and owner demographics, logistics, and preparation for travel, as well as the dog’s experience of air travel. Results showed that most dogs cope with and recover well from air travel but that there is a group of individuals who suffer physical, mental, and emotional ill health consequences during or after air travel, including death. Stress management products such as anxiolytic medication, supplements, and pheromones were underutilised and, in some instances, actively discouraged. More education of all stakeholders of pet air travel is needed to improve the physical, mental, and emotional health and welfare of canine air travellers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Stress and Welfare during Transport and Slaughtering)
Show Figures

Figure 1

14 pages, 2697 KiB  
Article
Pre-Slaughter Stunning of Farmed Atlantic Halibut in CO2-Saturated Seawater: Assessment of Unconsciousness by Electroencephalography (EEG)
by Daniel Santiago Rucinque, Hans van de Vis, Henny Reimert, Bjørn Roth, Atle Foss, Cesar Augusto Taconeli and Marien Gerritzen
Animals 2023, 13(12), 1993; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13121993 - 15 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1307
Abstract
As fish welfare becomes a growing concern, it is important to ensure humane treatment during slaughter. This study aimed to assess the onset of unconsciousness in Atlantic halibut immersed in CO2-saturated seawater through electroencephalography (EEG). Of the 29 fish studied, 10 [...] Read more.
As fish welfare becomes a growing concern, it is important to ensure humane treatment during slaughter. This study aimed to assess the onset of unconsciousness in Atlantic halibut immersed in CO2-saturated seawater through electroencephalography (EEG). Of the 29 fish studied, 10 exhibited escape attempts, indicating aversion to CO2-saturated water despite its oxygenation. EEG signals showed four distinct phases: transitional, excitation (high amplitude–high frequency), suppressed, and iso-electric phases. The onset of the suppressed phase, indicative of unconsciousness, occurred on average 258.8 ± 46.2 s after immersion. The spectral analysis of the EEG signals showed a progressive decrease in median frequency, spectral edge frequency, and high frequency contribution, which corresponded to the gradual loss of consciousness. The study concludes that CO2-saturated water is not recommended for pre-slaughter handling of halibut due to the extended time required for the onset of unconsciousness and the observed aversive behaviour. Ensuring humane treatment during slaughter is important for addressing public concern and safeguarding fish welfare in all stages of production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Stress and Welfare during Transport and Slaughtering)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

18 pages, 4304 KiB  
Review
Importance of Knife Sharpness during Slaughter: Shariah and Kosher Perspective and Scientific Validation
by Pavan Kumar, Ahmed Abubakar Abubakar, Jurhamid Columbres Imlan, Muideen Adewale Ahmed, Yong-Meng Goh, Ubedullah Kaka, Zulkifli Idrus and Awis Qurni Sazili
Animals 2023, 13(11), 1751; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13111751 - 25 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3546
Abstract
Halal and kosher slaughter have given the utmost importance to the sharpness of knives during the slaughter of animals. A sharp knife of appropriate dimension (blade length) makes slaughter less painful during neck severance and facilitates desirable bleeding. The role of knife sharpness [...] Read more.
Halal and kosher slaughter have given the utmost importance to the sharpness of knives during the slaughter of animals. A sharp knife of appropriate dimension (blade length) makes slaughter less painful during neck severance and facilitates desirable bleeding. The role of knife sharpness has not been given due credit from an animal welfare perspective and is likely ignored by the people involved in slaughterhouses. A neat, clean, and efficient neck cut by an extremely sharp knife reduces the pain. It improves the bleeding out, thus making animals unconscious early without undergoing unnecessary pain and stress. It also helps in improving meat quality and food safety. A slight incremental improvement in knife sharpness could significantly improve the animal welfare, productivity, efficiency, and safety of meat plant workers. The present review critically analyzed the significance of knife sharpness in religious slaughter by reducing stress and pain and improving meat quality and food safety. The objective quantification of knife sharpness, proper regular training of slaughterers, and slow slaughter rate are the challenges faced by the meat industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Stress and Welfare during Transport and Slaughtering)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop