Electrical stunning parameters for small ruminants

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Article
lambs, goats, low current, electrical, stunning, welfare
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 three studies evaluating electrical parameters for the stunning of lambs and kid goats. The Commission received the studies from the Spanish authorities. One study was in the form of a manuscript entitled ‘Electrical stunning effectiveness with current levels lower than 1 A in lambs and kid goats’. The second study consisted of a summary in English entitled ‘Effect of the electrical stunning with inferior intensities of current to 1 Ampere on the carcass quality in Pascuales lambs’, and the third study consisted of a summary in English entitled ‘Effect of electrical stunning with inferior intensities to 1 Ampere on the induction to the unconsciousness in lambs’. Reported outcomes for different animal categories were inconsistent and contradictory, indicating a need to validate if the stunning equipment delivered the intended current levels to the animals. The head-only stunning and slaughter intervention failed to achieve and/or maintain unconsciousness during bleeding and the head-to-body stunning and slaughter intervention failed to achieve cardiac ventricular fibrillation in all of the animals, as evidenced by the presence of corneal reflex and rhythmic breathing. No evidence of absence of pain and suffering is presented in the studies. The submitted studies are not considered adequate for a full welfare assessment of the alternative stunning method because they do not fulfil the eligibility criteria and the reporting quality criteria defined in the EFSA guidance on the assessment criteria for studies evaluating the effectiveness of stunning interventions or the EFSA opinion on monitoring welfare at slaughter of small ruminants.

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.2015.4023
EFSA Journal 2015;13(2):4023 [15 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
15