Fachbereich Veterinärmedizin



    Electroencephalographic Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Blunt Trauma to Induce Loss of Consciousness for on-farm Killing of Chickens and Turkeys (2015)

    Zeitschriftenartikel / wissenschaftlicher Beitrag
    Cors, J-C
    Gruber, A D (WE 12)
    Günther, R
    Meyer-Kühling, B
    Esser, K-H
    Rautenschlein, S
    Poultry Science; 94(2) — S. 147–155
    ISSN: 0032-5791
    DOI: 10.3382/ps/peu038
    Pubmed: 25609692
    Institut für Tierpathologie

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    Abstract / Zusammenfassung

    Euthanasia of small numbers of birds in case of injury or other illness directly on the farm may be necessary for welfare reasons. This should be done without transportation of the moribund animals in order to minimize pain and distress. Blood loss has to be avoided to minimize the risk of contaminating the environment. Cervical dislocation in combination with a blunt trauma may be an appropriate way to achieve this aim but the bird's age and body weight may influence the practicability of this method in the field. In this study, we evaluated broilers, broiler breeders, and turkeys of different age groups and weights up to nearly 16 kg for the efficacy of blunt trauma to induce unconsciousness, allowing subsequent killing of the bird without pain. The effect of blunt trauma on the brain was determined by electroencephalography (EEG). Auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) were recorded for each animal. Convulsions or tonic seizures were observed in all investigated animals after blunt trauma, including strong wing movements, torticollis, and stretching of legs. The EEG results demonstrate that the blunt trauma induced by a single, sufficiently strong hit placed in the frontoparietal region of the head led to a reduction or loss of the AEP in all groups of birds. These results clearly indicate a loss of sensibility and induction of unconsciousness, which would allow painless killing of the birds immediately after the induction of the blunt trauma.