Review Of The Main Welfare Risks Related To Electrical Stunning Of Small Ruminants (Ovine And Caprine Species)

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O'Connor, Annette
Dzikamunhenga, Rungano
Totton, S.
Glanville, J.
Wood, H.
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O'Connor, Annette
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Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine
The mission of VDPAM is to educate current and future food animal veterinarians, population medicine scientists and stakeholders by increasing our understanding of issues that impact the health, productivity and well-being of food and fiber producing animals; developing innovative solutions for animal health and food safety; and providing the highest quality, most comprehensive clinical practice and diagnostic services. Our department is made up of highly trained specialists who span a wide range of veterinary disciplines and species interests. We have faculty of all ranks with expertise in diagnostics, medicine, surgery, pathology, microbiology, epidemiology, public health, and production medicine. Most have earned certification from specialty boards. Dozens of additional scientists and laboratory technicians support the research and service components of our department.
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Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine

EFSA commissioned a comprehensive review of the welfare aspects of electrical stunning methods for small ruminants with an emphasize on low ampere stunning to establish the state of the art in the field and to assess whether scientific studies would address criteria outlined in an EFSA guidance on the assessment criteria for studies evaluating the effectiveness of stunning interventions regarding animal protection at the time of killing (EFSA Journal 2013;11(12):3486). The review was not formulated as a systematic review with a focused question instead the review followed the approach to assessing the literature described by the EFSA guidance. The key databases searched were: Science Citation Index (1900-2014), CAB Abstracts (1910-2014) and Medline (1990-2014). Key conferences proceedings and the bibliographies of review articles were manually searched. The search yielded 1599 records. 706 duplicate records were removed and 894 records assessed for relevance. Relevant studies reported electronic stunning of small ruminants and outcomes associated with onset and duration of unconsciousness. Eighteen papers reported electrical approaches to stunning in sheep. No goats were studied. None of the papers reported all of the parameters detailed in the EFSA guidance (EFSA, 2013) and a risk of bias assessment was not conducted. No studies reported the appearance of the electrodes. When the frequency (Hz) applied to the animal was reported, it was not specified whether this represented a minimum or maximum frequency. Only one study explicitly reported an effect size for amperes. The study suggested that the odds of a poor stun were higher for amperes of 0.6 (odds ratio (OD) of 6.27 with 95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.98-20.7) and 0.8 (OR of 24.4 with 95% CI of 6.98-85.2) when compared to a poor stun at 1.25 ampere.


This report is EFSA Supporting Report (2015): EN-741, 68 pp. Available online: Posted with permission.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2015