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Assessment of cattle and pig welfare at stunning in commercial abattoirs

Atkinson, Sophie (2016). Assessment of cattle and pig welfare at stunning in commercial abattoirs. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Uppsala : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2016:47
ISBN 978-91-576-8596-4
eISBN 978-91-576-8597-1
[Doctoral thesis]

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This thesis aimed to develop and implement a standardised assessment for stun quality for use in commercial pig and cattle abattoirs to protect animal welfare. A stun quality protocol identified and rated symptoms signifying recovery risk and level of concern for inferior animal welfare. The thesis also aimed to identify problem areas and methods for improving animal welfare standards at slaughter.

Eighteen assessments were conducted on 9520 pigs stunned with CO₂ gas and 2725 cattle stunned with penetrating bolt concussion stunners.

For pigs, insufficient CO₂ exposure times and concentrations contributed to a small percentage of pigs being inadequately stunned in three abattoirs using dip-lift systems; rectifying these elements resulted in 100% adequate stunning during follow-up studies.

In the studies in cattle abattoirs, bulls were found to be significantly more likely to be inadequately stunned than other cattle types (heifers, cows and steers). Risk factors identified as contributing to a higher frequency of inadequate stunning included inappropriately designed loading and stun-box facilities, use of cartridge fired stunners that were too low in power for bulls, poor maintenance of stunners, inappropriate ammunition storage and the lack of neck restraints to prevent inaccurate shooting. Stun quality was optimised by the use of a Jarvis® pneumatic stunner in combination with neck restraints.

Based on the display of different symptoms, the brains of twelve cattle were macroscopically analysed in two of the abattoirs studied, with the level of brain haemorrhage and tissue damage corresponding to the adequacy of the stun.
The use of protocols such as those developed in this study can help standardise stun quality assessments and allow for benchmarking of stun quality at commercial slaughter. This can help to ensure that animal welfare standards are met. The conclusions of this thesis will be of interest and relevance to the commercial abattoirs and relevant authorities globally.

Authors/Creators:Atkinson, Sophie
Title:Assessment of cattle and pig welfare at stunning in commercial abattoirs
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2016
Depositing date:2016
Number of Pages:96
IAtkinson, S., Velarde, A., Llonch. & Algers, B. (2012). Assessing pig welfare at stunning in Swedish commercial abattoirs using CO2 group-stun methods. Animal Welfare 21, 487–495
IIAtkinson, S., Velarde, A. & Algers, B. (2013). Assessment of stun quality at commercial slaughter in cattle shot with captive bolt. Animal Welfare 22, 473–481
IIIAtkinson, S., Velarde, A. & Algers, B. Stun quality assessment and identification of risk factors which reduce welfare and stun quality in cattle shot with penetrating bolt stunners in Swedish abattoirs (manuscript submitted to Animal Welfare).
Place of Publication:Uppsala
Publisher:Department of Animal Environment and Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-8596-4
ISBN for electronic version:978-91-576-8597-1
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:L Animal production > L01 Animal husbandry
L Animal production > L70 Veterinary science and hygiene - General aspects
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 403 Veterinary Science > Clinical Science
Agrovoc terms:cattle, swine, abattoirs, stunning, carbon dioxide, animal welfare, sweden
Keywords:Stun, Welfare, Cattle, Pig, Abattoirs, Assessment, Stun quality
Permanent URL:
ID Code:13407
Faculty:VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Deposited By: Gunilla Åkerlund
Deposited On:25 May 2016 08:07
Metadata Last Modified:10 Sep 2020 13:41

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