Carbon dioxide stunning of rabbits

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Article
rabbits, stunning, carbon dioxide, animal welfare, slaughter
First published in the EFSA Journal
16 February 2015
Adopted
4 February 2015
Type
Scientific Opinion
Abstract

The EFSA Panel on Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW Panel) was asked by the European Commission to deliver a scientific opinion on two studies concerned with the use of carbon dioxide for stunning rabbits. The European Commission had received from the Spanish authorities a report of a study entitled ‘Carbon dioxide stunning of rabbits’ and another study entitled ‘Stunning of rabbits with carbon dioxide’, provided as a complement to the first study. The latter was undertaken in a commercial abattoir where a commercial carbon dioxide stunner was installed. The results of electrocardiography and animal-based measures (nasal discomfort and vocalisation) produced in the experimental slaughterhouse study clearly indicated that the rabbits were subjected to pain and suffering prior to the loss of consciousness. The data presented do not describe stable, controlled or repeatable experimental conditions. The statistical tests used to analyse the data were not appropriate. The study in the commercial abattoir was not based on sound scientific conclusions resulting from the experimental slaughterhouse study. For all of these reasons, the submitted studies did not meet the minimum criteria for eligibility in the EFSA guidance on the assessment criteria for studies evaluating the effectiveness of stunning interventions. Therefore, they were not further assessed.

Panel members at the time of adoption
Charlotte Berg, Anette Bøtner, Howard Browman, Aline De Koeijer, Klaus Depner, Mariano Domingo, Christian Ducrot, Sandra Edwards, Christine Fourichon, Frank Koenen, Simon More, Mohan Raj, Liisa Sihvonen, Hans Spoolder, Jan Arend Stegeman, Hans-Hermann Thulke, Ivar Vågsholm, Antonio Velarde and Preben Willeberg.
Panel on Animal Health and Welfare
Contact
alpha [at] efsa.europa.eu
doi
10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4022
EFSA Journal 2015;13(2):4022 [27 pp.].
Question Number
On request from
European Commission
Competing interests
One member of the Panel did not participate in the discussion on the subject referred to above because of potential conflicts of interest identified in accordance with the EFSA policy on declarations of interests.
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Number of Pages
27