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Animal Welfare and Food Safety When Slaughtering Cattle Using the Gunshot Method

Hultgren, Jan and Schiffer, Katrin and Babol, Jakub and Berg, Lotta (2022). Animal Welfare and Food Safety When Slaughtering Cattle Using the Gunshot Method. Animals. 12 :4 , 492
[Research article]

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Abstract

Simple Summary Transporting cattle from the farm to the slaughterhouse is often stressful for the animal. With the gunshot method, it is stunned using a rifle while together with familiar herd members in an enclosure on the farm. The shot makes the animal unconscious. Then, as in normal slaughter, the animal is bled to death. Finally, it is transported to a nearby slaughterhouse. We aimed to assess the consequences for animal welfare and food safety of using the gunshot method. Twenty Hereford steers were shot with a hunting rifle using small-calibre ammunition from an elevated position and distance of 6-12 m. Each time, only one out of four to seven animals in a 16 x 10 m corral was shot. Based on the animals' behaviour and physiological blood values, stress levels before shooting were low. Eleven animals were considered completely unconscious, while seven showed some signs of consciousness and two were poorly stunned. Two animals were reshot with heavier ammunition. Bleeding was satisfactory and little or no contamination was found on the carcasses. We conclude that the gunshot method is applicable to large beef steers while maintaining a satisfactory level of animal welfare and food safety, provided that the necessary conditions can be achieved. Transporting cattle from farm to slaughterhouse is often stressful for the animal, which can impair the meat quality. With the gunshot method, the animal is stunned with a rifle shot while together with familiar herd members in their home environment, exsanguinated and transported to a nearby slaughterhouse. Aiming to assess the consequences for animal welfare and food safety, 20 Hereford steers aged 18-54 months were shot with .22 Magnum ammunition from an elevated position and distance of 6-12 m. Each time, only one out of four to seven animals in a 16 x 10 m corral was shot. Dressing was done on farm. Based on the animals' behaviour and blood concentrations of cortisol, glucose and lactate, stress levels before shooting were low. Eleven animals were deeply stunned, the consciousness of seven others was ambiguous, and two were poorly stunned. Two animals were reshot. The bleed-out was satisfactory for all animals, and little or no faecal contamination was found on the carcasses. We conclude that the gunshot method is applicable to large beef steers while maintaining a satisfactory level of animal welfare and food safety, provided that the necessary conditions can be attained.

Authors/Creators:Hultgren, Jan and Schiffer, Katrin and Babol, Jakub and Berg, Lotta
Title:Animal Welfare and Food Safety When Slaughtering Cattle Using the Gunshot Method
Series Name/Journal:Animals
Year of publishing :2022
Volume:12
Number:4
Article number:492
Number of Pages:20
Publisher:MDPI
ISSN:2076-2615
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 402 Animal and Dairy Science > Animal and Dairy Science.
Keywords:brain haemorrhage, on-farm slaughter, rifle, steer, slaughter hygiene, stun quality
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-116491
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-116491
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.3390/ani12040492
Web of Science (WoS)000764083200001
ID Code:27535
Faculty:VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
(VH) > Department of Biomedical Science and Veterinary Public Health
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:12 Apr 2022 14:25
Metadata Last Modified:12 Apr 2022 14:31

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