Electrical poultry waterbath stunning parameters

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Article
poultry, waterbath, electric, stunning, parameter, welfare, EEG
First published in the EFSA Journal
3 July 2014
Adopted
25 June 2014
Type
Scientific Opinion
Abstract

The European Commission (EC) requested that the EFSA Panel on Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW Panel) delivers a scientific opinion on a study that proposes parameters for poultry electrical waterbath stunning different to those laid down in Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. The submitted study reports upon the use (mean + SD) of a current of 104.00 ± 3.88 mA, a voltage of 125.86 ± 3.28 V and a frequency of 589.78 ± 0.63 Hz using a square wave in alternating current (AC) with a 50 % duty cycle. These conditions were applied for 15 seconds to chickens under laboratory and slaughterhouse conditions. The submitted study was peer-reviewed by the AHAW Panel in the manner detailed in its ‘Guidance on the assessment criteria for studies evaluating the effectiveness of stunning intervention regarding animal protection at the time of killing’. The methodology and the data reported do not provide conclusive evidence that the combination of the proposed electrical frequency and current induced unconsciousness without exposing the chickens to avoidable pain and suffering. Further, some chickens did not remain unconscious for a sufficient time to prevent avoidable pain and suffering during slaughter. Because the information provided in the study was incomplete and insufficient, it did not pass the eligibility phase of the assessment. In the context of Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, and current scientific evidence, a frequency of 600 Hz with a current of 104 mA does not result in efficient stunning of poultry. Therefore, additional research into these stunning parameters is not recommended.

Panel members at the time of adoption
Edith Authie, Charlotte Berg, Anette Bøtner, Howard Browman, Ilaria Capua, Aline De Koeijer, Klaus Depner, Mariano Domingo, Sandra Edwards, Christine Fourichon, Frank Koenen, Simon More, Mohan Raj, Liisa Sihvonen, Hans Spoolder, Jan Arend Stegeman, Hans-Hermann Thulke, Ivar Vågsholm, Antonio Velarde, Preben Willeberg and Stéphan Zientara.
Panel on Animal Health and Welfare
Contact
alpha [at] efsa.europa.eu
doi
10.2903/j.efsa.2014.3745
EFSA Journal 2014;12(7):3745 [18 pp.].
Question Number
On request from
European Commission
Print on demand
Number of Pages
18