Special Issue "Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Tina M Widowski
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Animal Biosciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
Prof. Patricia V. Turner
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada
Interests: diseases of laboratory animals, toxicologic pathology, research animal anesthesia, analgesia, euthanasia, animal welfare
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The humane killing of animals on farms is a major animal welfare issue for all livestock and poultry industries world-wide. Euthanasia of individual sick or injured animals is (or should be) routinely practiced by stock people on most farms, and the emphasis on animal welfare during on-farm killing of large numbers of animals for culling, end of production, and disease control or eradication is increasing. Humane methods for killing animals imply minimal pain and distress prior to and during the procedure and a rapid loss of sensibility prior to death. However, additional factors such as human safety, practicality and the aesthetic and emotional effects on the people performing the method often constrain the techniques that can be used on farms. Increasingly, regulatory requirements and farm animal care guidelines require that methods used for killing animals on farms be evaluated scientifically. Although there is a substantial body of research on methods for humane stunning and killing for slaughter, scientific assessment of different on-farm killing methods on the welfare of farm animals has really only emerged over the last decade. Traditional methods used by stock people for on-farm culling and euthanasia are being evaluated and refined, and new methods are being developed. Practical animal-based measures that stock people can use to reliably assess loss of sensibility and confirm death are being validated objectively and included in training programs for farm workers. Research to date indicates considerable species, sex, and age differences in animal responses to different killing methods and there is an on-going need for research in this area.

We invite original research papers that address methods for on-farm killing and euthanasia of livestock, farmed fish, animals raised commercially for pelt production, and poultry. Topics can include assessment and comparisons of methods for euthanasia of individual or small numbers of animals by stockpeople and killing of whole herds, flocks or cohorts of stock for disease purposes or depopulation at the farm level. Additional topics include validation of animal-based measures that can be used to assess loss of sensibility and time of death in the field, and aesthetic and emotional effects of different killing methods on farm workers and stock person training.

Dr. Tina M Widowski
Dr. Patricia V. Turner
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • on-farm killing
  • euthanasia
  • depopulation
  • livestock
  • poultry
  • fish
  • fur-bearing

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Evaluation of Two Compressed Air Foam Systems for Culling Caged Layer Hens
Animals 2018, 8(5), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8050061 - 24 Apr 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Outbreaks of avian influenza (AI) and other highly contagious poultry diseases continue to be a concern for those involved in the poultry industry. In the situation of an outbreak, emergency depopulation of the birds involved is necessary. In this project, two compressed air [...] Read more.
Outbreaks of avian influenza (AI) and other highly contagious poultry diseases continue to be a concern for those involved in the poultry industry. In the situation of an outbreak, emergency depopulation of the birds involved is necessary. In this project, two compressed air foam systems (CAFS) were evaluated for mass emergency depopulation of layer hens in a manure belt equipped cage system. In both experiments, a randomized block design was used with multiple commercial layer hens treated with one of three randomly selected depopulation methods: CAFS, CAFS with CO2 gas, and CO2 gas. In Experiment 1, a Rowe manufactured CAFS was used, a selection of birds were instrumented, and the time to unconsciousness, brain death, altered terminal cardiac activity and motion cessation were recorded. CAFS with and without CO2 was faster to unconsciousness, however, the other parameters were not statistically significant. In Experiment 2, a custom Hale based CAFS was used to evaluate the impact of bird age, a selection of birds were instrumented, and the time to motion cessation was recorded. The difference in time to cessation of movement between pullets and spent hens using CAFS was not statistically significant. Both CAFS depopulate caged layers, however, there was no benefit to including CO2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Use of a Non-Penetrating Captive Bolt for Euthanasia of Neonate Goats
Animals 2018, 8(4), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040058 - 20 Apr 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
A non-penetrating captive bolt device, powered by a 1 grain 0.22″ cartridge delivering a calculated kinetic energy of 47 Joules was tested as a euthanasia method on 200 neonate goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) of mean dead weight = 4.425 kg (SD [...] Read more.
A non-penetrating captive bolt device, powered by a 1 grain 0.22″ cartridge delivering a calculated kinetic energy of 47 Joules was tested as a euthanasia method on 200 neonate goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) of mean dead weight = 4.425 kg (SD (Standard deviation) ± 0.4632), to assess effectiveness and shot position. Evaluation of the method was conducted using behavioural indicators of brain dysfunction followed by post mortem examination of the heads. Once correct shot position had been established, 100% of 158 kids (95% confidence interval 97.5% to 100%) were successfully stunned/killed with a shot positioned on the midline, between the ears, with the chin tucked into the neck. The use of the Accles and Shelvoke CASH Small Animal Tool can therefore be recommended for the euthanasia of neonate goats with a 1 grain cartridge and a specific shooting position. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessArticle
A Two-Step Process of Nitrous Oxide before Carbon Dioxide for Humanely Euthanizing Piglets: On-Farm Trials
Animals 2018, 8(4), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040052 - 04 Apr 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Current methods of euthanizing piglets are raising animal welfare concerns. Our experiment used a novel two-step euthanasia method, using nitrous oxide (N2O) for six minutes and then carbon dioxide (CO2) on compromised 0- to 7-day-old piglets. A commercial euthanasia [...] Read more.
Current methods of euthanizing piglets are raising animal welfare concerns. Our experiment used a novel two-step euthanasia method, using nitrous oxide (N2O) for six minutes and then carbon dioxide (CO2) on compromised 0- to 7-day-old piglets. A commercial euthanasia chamber was modified to deliver two euthanasia treatments: the two-step method using N2O then CO2 (N2O treatment) or only CO2 (CO2 treatment). In Experiment 1, 18 piglets were individually euthanized. In Experiment 2, 18 groups of four to six piglets were euthanized. In the N2O treatment, piglets lost posture, indicating the onset of losing consciousness, before going into CO2 where they showed heavy breathing and open-mouth breathing; whereas piglets in the CO2 treatment did not lose posture until after exhibiting these behaviors (p ≤ 0.004). However, piglets in the N2O treatment took longer to lose posture compared to the CO2 treatment (p < 0.001). Piglets in the N2O treatment displayed more behavioral signs of stress and aversion: squeals/minute (p = 0.004), escape attempts per pig (p = 0.021), and righting responses per pig (p = 0.084) in a group setting. In these regards, it cannot be concluded that euthanizing piglets for 6 min with N2O and then CO2 is more humane than euthanizing with CO2 alone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Use of a Mechanical Non-Penetrating Captive Bolt Device for the Euthanasia of Neonate Lambs
Animals 2018, 8(4), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040049 - 02 Apr 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
A non-penetrating captive bolt device, powered by a 1-grain 0.22″ cartridge delivering a calculated kinetic energy of 47 Joules was tested as a euthanasia method on 200 neonate lambs (Ovis aries) of 4.464 kg (SD (Standard deviation) ± 1.056) mean dead weight, to [...] Read more.
A non-penetrating captive bolt device, powered by a 1-grain 0.22″ cartridge delivering a calculated kinetic energy of 47 Joules was tested as a euthanasia method on 200 neonate lambs (Ovis aries) of 4.464 kg (SD (Standard deviation) ± 1.056) mean dead weight, to assess effectiveness and shot position. Every lamb (n = 200) was effectively stunned when the weapon was applied powered by a brown, 1-grain cartridge but 10/200 (5%) of the lambs displayed rhythmic or agonal breathing and were subsequently euthanased using euthatal (Merial, UK, GTIN: 03661103015550). Evaluation of the method was conducted using behavioural indicators of brain dysfunction followed by post-mortem examination of the heads. A second trial was conducted using a higher velocity 1.25-grain cartridge and a specific shot position on 48 lambs (mean dead weight = 6.21 kg, SD ± 1.24) averaging 5 days old. One hundred percent of the lambs in the second trial were immediately stun-killed. Given this complete kill rate and the sample size of the study, the study provides a statistical 95% confidence interval of 92.6% to 100%. The use of the Accles & Shelvoke “CASH” Small Animal Tool (Birmingham, UK) can therefore be recommended for the euthanasia of neonate lambs with a 1.25-grain cartridge and a specific shooting position. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Use of a Non-Penetrating Captive Bolt for the Euthanasia of Neonate Piglets
Animals 2018, 8(4), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040048 - 02 Apr 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
The most common method for the on-farm euthanasia of neonate piglets is reported to be manual blunt force trauma. This paper presents the results of research to evaluate a mechanical non-penetrating captive bolt (the Accles and Shelvoke CASH small animal tool, Birmingham, UK) [...] Read more.
The most common method for the on-farm euthanasia of neonate piglets is reported to be manual blunt force trauma. This paper presents the results of research to evaluate a mechanical non-penetrating captive bolt (the Accles and Shelvoke CASH small animal tool, Birmingham, UK) to produce an immediate stun/kill with neonate piglets. One hundred and forty-seven piglets (average dead weight = 1.20 kg ± 0.58 (standard deviation, SD), mean age = 5.8 days (median = 3)) were euthanized with the device and demonstrated immediate loss of consciousness, subjectively assessed by behavioural signs and no recovery. The result that 147 out of 147 animals were effectively stun/killed gives a 95% confidence interval for the true percentage of animals that would be effectively stun/killed of 97.5–100% with the use of the CASH small animal tool under the conditions of the current study. This research concludes that the CASH small animal tool, using a 1 grain brown coded cartridge, is suitable for producing a stun/kill in neonate piglets when applied in a frontal/parietal position. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Evaluation of Two Models of Non-Penetrating Captive Bolt Devices for On-Farm Euthanasia of Turkeys
Animals 2018, 8(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8030042 - 20 Mar 2018
Cited by 12
Abstract
On-farm euthanasia is a critical welfare issue in the poultry industry and can be particularly difficult to perform on mature turkeys due to their size. We evaluated the efficacy of two commercially available non-penetrating captive bolt devices, the Zephyr-EXL and the Turkey Euthanasia [...] Read more.
On-farm euthanasia is a critical welfare issue in the poultry industry and can be particularly difficult to perform on mature turkeys due to their size. We evaluated the efficacy of two commercially available non-penetrating captive bolt devices, the Zephyr-EXL and the Turkey Euthanasia Device (TED), on 253 turkeys at three stages of production: 4–5, 10, and 15–20 weeks of age. Effectiveness of each device was measured using both ante- and post-mortem measures. Application of the Zephyr-EXL resulted in a greater success rate (immediate abolishment of brainstem reflexes) compared to the TED (97.6% vs. 89.3%, p = 0.0145). Times to last movement (p = 0.102) and cardiac arrest (p = 0.164) did not differ between devices. Ante- and post-mortem measures of trauma and hemorrhage were highly correlated. Skull fractures and gross subdural hemorrhage (SDH) were present in 100% of birds euthanized with both the Zephyr-EXL and TED devices. Gross SDH scores were greater in birds killed with the Zephyr-EXL than the TED (p < 0.001). Microscopic SDH scores indicated moderate to severe hemorrhage in 92% of turkeys for the Zephyr-EXL and 96% of turkeys for the TED, with no difference between devices (p = 0.844). Overall, both devices were highly effective inducing immediate insensibility through traumatic brain injury and are reliable, single-step methods for on-farm euthanasia of turkeys. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Evaluation of Different Gases and Gas Combinations for On-Farm Euthanasia of Pre-Weaned Pigs
Animals 2018, 8(3), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8030040 - 16 Mar 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The aim of this research was to evaluate the welfare of pre-weaned piglets euthanised using three different gas treatments: 100% carbon dioxide (CO2), 100% argon (Ar) or a mixture of 60% Ar/40% carbon dioxide (Ar/CO2). Two studies (n = [...] Read more.
The aim of this research was to evaluate the welfare of pre-weaned piglets euthanised using three different gas treatments: 100% carbon dioxide (CO2), 100% argon (Ar) or a mixture of 60% Ar/40% carbon dioxide (Ar/CO2). Two studies (n = 5 piglets/treatment/study) were conducted: (1) behavioural and physiological data were collected from conscious piglets during exposure to test gases via immersion in a pre-filled chamber and (2) electrophysiological data were collected from lightly anaesthetised, intubated and mechanically ventilated piglets exposed to the same test gases. Based on the duration of escape attempts and laboured breathing, piglets exposed to 100% CO2 experienced more stress than piglets exposed to 100% Ar prior to loss of consciousness, but there appeared to be no advantage of mixing Ar with CO2 on indices of animal welfare. However, spectral analysis of the electroencephalogram revealed no changes consistent with nociception during exposure to any of the three gas treatments. Based on the behavioural response to gas exposure, all gases tested caused signs of stress prior to piglets losing consciousness and hence alternative methods of euthanasia need to be evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessArticle
Welfare Risks of Repeated Application of On-Farm Killing Methods for Poultry
Animals 2018, 8(3), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8030039 - 15 Mar 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Council Regulation (EC) no. 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing restricts the use of manual cervical dislocation in poultry on farms in the European Union (EU) to birds weighing up to 3 kg and 70 birds per person [...] Read more.
Council Regulation (EC) no. 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing restricts the use of manual cervical dislocation in poultry on farms in the European Union (EU) to birds weighing up to 3 kg and 70 birds per person per day. However, few studies have examined whether repeated application of manual cervical dislocation has welfare implications and whether these are dependent on individual operator skill or susceptibility to fatigue. We investigated the effects of repeated application (100 birds at a fixed killing rate of 1 bird per 2 min) and multiple operators on two methods of killing of broilers, laying hens, and turkeys in commercial settings. We compared the efficacy and welfare impact of repeated application of cervical dislocation and a percussive killer (Cash Poultry Killer, CPK), using 12 male stockworkers on three farms (one farm per bird type). Both methods achieved over 96% kill success at the first attempt. The killing methods were equally effective for each bird type and there was no evidence of reduced performance with time and/or bird number. Both methods of killing caused a rapid loss of reflexes, indicating loss of brain function. There was more variation in reflex durations and post-mortem damage in birds killed by cervical dislocation than that found using CPK. High neck dislocation was associated with improved kill success and more rapid loss of reflexes. The CPK caused damage to multiple brain areas with little variation. Overall, the CPK was associated with faster abolition of reflexes, with fewer birds exhibiting them at all, suggestive of better welfare outcomes. However, technical difficulties with the CPK highlighted the advantages of cervical dislocation, which can be performed immediately with no equipment. At the killing rates tested, we did not find evidence to justify the current EU limit on the number of birds that one operator can kill on–farm by manual cervical dislocation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Alternative Euthanasia Methods of Neonatal Chickens
Animals 2018, 8(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8030037 - 09 Mar 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
Hatched male layer chicks are currently euthanized by maceration in the United States. Public concerns on the use of maceration have led to the search for alternative methods. We hypothesized that gas inhalation and low atmospheric pressure stunning (LAPS) are viable and humane [...] Read more.
Hatched male layer chicks are currently euthanized by maceration in the United States. Public concerns on the use of maceration have led to the search for alternative methods. We hypothesized that gas inhalation and low atmospheric pressure stunning (LAPS) are viable and humane alternatives to instantaneous mechanical destruction. The objective of this study was to evaluate the physiological and behavioral responses of recently hatched male layer chicks when subjected to carbon dioxide, nitrogen inhalation, or LAPS. The study consisted of seven treatments: breathing air (NEG), 25% carbon dioxide (CO2), 50% CO2, 75% CO2, 90% CO2, 100% nitrogen (N2), or LAPS. Ten day-of-hatch, male layer chicks were randomly assigned to each treatment, and each treatment was replicated on ten different days. A custom-made vacuum system was used to reduce air pressure inside the chamber from 100.12 kPa to 15.3 kPa for the LAPS treatment. Serum corticosterone and serotonin levels were measured using commercially available competitive enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Latencies to loss of posture and motionlessness were determined from video recordings. The 25% and 50% CO2 treatments were discontinued after the first replication, as the majority of the chicks recovered. The chicks in the negative (NEG) group had significantly higher levels of corticosterone than the other four euthanasia treatments. On the other hand, the serotonin levels of chicks in the NEG group was significantly lower when compared to the other four euthanasia treatments. The latencies to loss of posture and motionlessness of chicks exposed to 75% and 90% CO2 were significantly shorter than those in the LAPS and N2 inhalation treatments. These data suggest that the stress responses of chicks to the CO2, N2, and LAPS treatments do not differ among each other. However, the CO2 inhalation method was faster in inducing loss of posture and motionlessness in chicks than the LAPS and N2 inhalation treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessArticle
Depopulation of Caged Layer Hens with a Compressed Air Foam System
Animals 2018, 8(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8010011 - 11 Jan 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
During the 2014–2015 US highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak, 50.4 million commercial layers and turkeys were affected, resulting in economic losses of $3.3 billion. Rapid depopulation of infected poultry is vital to contain and eradicate reportable diseases like HPAI. The hypothesis of [...] Read more.
During the 2014–2015 US highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak, 50.4 million commercial layers and turkeys were affected, resulting in economic losses of $3.3 billion. Rapid depopulation of infected poultry is vital to contain and eradicate reportable diseases like HPAI. The hypothesis of the experiment was that a compressed air foam (CAF) system may be used as an alternative to carbon dioxide (CO2) inhalation for depopulating caged layer hens. The objective of this study was to evaluate corticosterone (CORT) and time to cessation of movement (COM) of hens subjected to CAF, CO2 inhalation, and negative control (NEG) treatments. In Experiment 1, two independent trials were conducted using young and spent hens. Experiment 1 consisted of five treatments: NEG, CO2 added to a chamber, a CO2 pre-charged chamber, CAF in cages, and CAF in a chamber. In Experiment 2, only spent hens were randomly assigned to three treatments: CAF in cages, CO2 added to a chamber, and aspirated foam. Serum CORT levels of young hens were not significantly different among the CAF in cages, CAF in a chamber, NEG control, and CO2 inhalation treatments. However, spent hens subjected to the CAF in a chamber had significantly higher CORT levels than birds in the rest of the treatments. Times to COM of spent hens subjected to CAF in cages and aspirated foam were significantly greater than of birds exposed to the CO2 in a chamber treatment. These data suggest that applying CAF in cages is a viable alternative for layer hen depopulation during a reportable disease outbreak. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
On Farm Evaluation of a Novel Mechanical Cervical Dislocation Device for Poultry
Animals 2018, 8(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8010010 - 10 Jan 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
Urgent development of alternative on-farm killing methods for poultry is required following the number restrictions placed on the use of traditional manual cervical dislocation by European Legislation (EU 1099/2009). Alternatives must be proven to be humane and, crucially, practical in commercial settings with [...] Read more.
Urgent development of alternative on-farm killing methods for poultry is required following the number restrictions placed on the use of traditional manual cervical dislocation by European Legislation (EU 1099/2009). Alternatives must be proven to be humane and, crucially, practical in commercial settings with multiple users. We assessed the performance and reliability of a novel mechanical cervical dislocation device (NMCD) compared to the traditional manual cervical dislocation (MCD) method. NMCD was based on a novel device consisting of a thin supportive glove and two moveable metal finger inserts designed to aid the twisting motion of cervical dislocation. We employed a 2 × 2 factorial design, with a total of eight stockworkers from broiler and layer units (four per farm) each killing 70 birds per method. A successful kill performance was defined as immediate absence of rhythmic breathing and nictitating membrane reflex; a detectable gap in the vertebrae and only one kill attempt (i.e., one stretch and twist motion). The mean stockworker kill performance was significantly higher for MCD (98.4 ± 0.5%) compared to NMCD (81.6 ± 1.8%). However, the MCD technique normally used by the stockworkers (based previous in-house training received) affected the performance of NMCD and was confounded by unit type (broilers), with the majority of broiler stockworkers trained in a non-standard technique, making adaption to the NMCD more difficult. The consistency of trauma induced by the killing methods (based on several post-mortem parameters) was higher with NMCD demonstrated by “gold standard” trauma achieved in 30.2% of birds, compared to 11.4% for MCD (e.g., dislocation higher up the cervical region of the spine i.e., between vertebrae C0–C1, ≥1 carotid arteries severed), suggesting it has the potential to improve welfare at killing. However, the results also suggest that the NMCD method requires further refinement and training optimization in order for it to be acceptable as an alternative across poultry industry, irrespective of previous MCD technique and training. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessArticle
Carbon Dioxide and Nitrogen Infused Compressed Air Foam for Depopulation of Caged Laying Hens
Animals 2018, 8(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8010006 - 03 Jan 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Depopulation of infected poultry flocks is a key strategy to control and contain reportable diseases. Water-based foam, carbon dioxide inhalation, and ventilation shutdown are depopulation methods available to the poultry industry. Unfortunately, these methods have limited usage in caged layer hen operations. Personnel [...] Read more.
Depopulation of infected poultry flocks is a key strategy to control and contain reportable diseases. Water-based foam, carbon dioxide inhalation, and ventilation shutdown are depopulation methods available to the poultry industry. Unfortunately, these methods have limited usage in caged layer hen operations. Personnel safety and welfare of birds are equally important factors to consider during emergency depopulation procedures. We have previously reported that compressed air foam (CAF) is an alternative method for depopulation of caged layer hens. We hypothesized that infusion of gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen (N2), into the CAF would reduce physiological stress and shorten time to cessation of movement. The study had six treatments, namely a negative control, CO2 inhalation, N2 inhalation, CAF with air (CAF Air), CAF with 50% CO2 (CAF CO2), and CAF with 100% N2 (CAF N2). Four spent hens were randomly assigned to one of these treatments on each of the eight replication days. A total of 192 spent hens were used in this study. Serum corticosterone and serotonin levels were measured and compared between treatments. Time to cessation of movement of spent hens was determined using accelerometers. The addition of CO2 in CAF significantly reduced the foam quality while the addition of N2 did not. The corticosterone and serotonin levels of spent hens subjected to foam (CAF, CAF CO2, CAF N2) and gas inhalation (CO2, N2) treatments did not differ significantly. The time to cessation of movement of spent hens in the CAF N2 treatment was significantly shorter than CAF and CAF CO2 treatments but longer than the gas inhalation treatments. These data suggest that the addition of N2 is advantageous in terms of shortening time to death and improved foam quality as compared to the CAF CO2 treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Efficacy of Blunt Force Trauma, a Novel Mechanical Cervical Dislocation Device, and a Non-Penetrating Captive Bolt Device for On-Farm Euthanasia of Pre-Weaned Kits, Growers, and Adult Commercial Meat Rabbits
Animals 2017, 7(12), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani7120100 - 15 Dec 2017
Cited by 9
Abstract
The commercial meat rabbit industry is without validated on-farm euthanasia methods, potentially resulting in inadequate euthanasia protocols. We evaluated blunt force trauma (BFT), a mechanical cervical dislocation device (MCD), and a non-penetrating captive bolt device (NPCB) for euthanasia of pre-weaned kits, growers, and [...] Read more.
The commercial meat rabbit industry is without validated on-farm euthanasia methods, potentially resulting in inadequate euthanasia protocols. We evaluated blunt force trauma (BFT), a mechanical cervical dislocation device (MCD), and a non-penetrating captive bolt device (NPCB) for euthanasia of pre-weaned kits, growers, and adult rabbits. Trials were conducted on three commercial meat rabbit farms using 170 cull rabbits. Insensibility was assessed by evaluating absence of brainstem and spinal reflexes, rhythmic breathing, and vocalizations. Survey radiographs on a subsample of rabbits (n = 12) confirmed tissue damage prior to gross dissection and microscopic evaluation. All 63 rabbits euthanized by the NPCB device were rendered immediately and irreversibly insensible. The MCD device was effective in 46 of 49 (94%) rabbits. Method failure was highest for BFT with euthanasia failures in 13 of 58 (22%) rabbits. Microscopically, brain sections from rabbits killed with the NPCB device had significantly more damage than those from rabbits killed with BFT (p = 0.001). We conclude that BFT is neither consistently humane nor effective as a euthanasia method. MCD is an accurate and reliable euthanasia method generally causing clean dislocation and immediate and irreversible insensibility, and the NPCB device was 100% effective and reliable in rabbits >150 g. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Euthanasia of Cattle: Practical Considerations and Application
Animals 2018, 8(4), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8040057 - 17 Apr 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Acceptable methods for the euthanasia of cattle include overdose of an anesthetic, gunshot and captive bolt. The use of anesthetics for euthanasia is costly and complicates carcass disposal. These issues can be avoided by use of a physical method such as gunshot or [...] Read more.
Acceptable methods for the euthanasia of cattle include overdose of an anesthetic, gunshot and captive bolt. The use of anesthetics for euthanasia is costly and complicates carcass disposal. These issues can be avoided by use of a physical method such as gunshot or captive bolt; however, each requires that certain conditions be met to assure an immediate loss of consciousness and death. For example, the caliber of firearm and type of bullet are important considerations when gunshot is used. When captive bolt is used, a penetrating captive bolt loaded with the appropriate powder charge and accompanied by a follow up (adjunctive) step to assure death are required. The success of physical methods also requires careful selection of the anatomic site for entry of a “free bullet” or “bolt” in the case of penetrating captive bolt. Disease eradication plans for animal health emergencies necessitate methods of euthanasia that will facilitate rapid and efficient depopulation of animals while preserving their welfare to the greatest extent possible. A portable pneumatic captive bolt device has been developed and validated as effective for use in mass depopulation scenarios. Finally, while most tend to focus on the technical aspects of euthanasia, it is extremely important that no one forget the human cost for those who may be required to perform the task of euthanasia on a regular basis. Symptoms including depression, grief, sleeplessness and destructive behaviors including alcoholism and drug abuse are not uncommon for those who participate in the euthanasia of animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humane Killing and Euthanasia of Animals on Farms)
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