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Effective reversible stunning of poultry - MH014001

The aim of this work is to develop, evaluate and demonstrate an electrical stunning system for poultry which is industrially relevant, humane and halal compliant. We anticipate that this will be achieved by “head only” electrical stunned using a controlled electrical current without inverting the conscious birds or using tightly fitting shackles. Another benefit to this approach is likely to be a reduction in carcass damage.

Research will be split into two phases. In phase 1 the project team will identify, design and develop the key system components.

The Defra contribution will contribute towards the engineering and development costs at the start of the project.
Work package 1: Bird capture and positioning

At the end of this work package we aim to have developed an approach which enables birds to be transferred by hand from the transport crate to the stunning equipment where they will be secured. The position of the birds head will be known and its wings could be secured to prevent flapping. The bird will not be inverted and its feet will not be in tightly fitting shackles. Transfer of the bird should take between 3 and 5 seconds of the operator’s time.

Work Package 2: Electrode design and application (Silsoe Livestock Systems and RVC joint-lead)

At the end of the work package the design of the most promising electrode(s) will be established taking into both account practical engineering issues such as complexity and hygiene and also the ability to deliver a reliable stun current.

Work Package 3: Electrical stun (RVC lead with support from Silsoe Livestock Systems)

At the end of this work package a small number of birds will have been stunned using a prototype of the constraining framework identified in work package 1 and the electrodes identified in work package 2. This will enable the basic functionality of the approach to be validated including observation and adaption of the approach to the muscle spasm at the onset of the stun and as a result of unconsciousness.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2019

To: 2020

Cost: £128,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
The Royal Veterinary College, Silsoe Livestock Systems Ltd
Fields of Study
Animal Welfare