Humane mechanical methods for killing poultry on-farm

Martin, Jessica E. (2015) Humane mechanical methods for killing poultry on-farm. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Worldwide, an estimated 9.1 billion birds may need to be killed on farm each year. As of January 2013 the use of manual cervical dislocation (MCD) as a killing method for poultry on-farm has been heavily restricted through new EU legislation (EC 1099/2009) on the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing, following reported welfare concerns. The method by which birds are killed on farm is crucial to poultry welfare on a large scale. The overall aim of this project was to design a mechanical device conforming to the new legislation to kill poultry humanely on-farm and provide a competitive replacement for MCD.
Following a survey and a literature review, four mechanical devices were designed and prototyped: Modified Armadillo (MARM); Modified Pliers (MPLI); Modified Rabbit Zinger (MZIN) and a Novel mechanical cervical dislocation glove (NMCD). The devices were tested for killing efficacy in three laboratory experiments, assessing their performance in poultry cadavers (Study 1), anaesthetised birds (Study 2) and live conscious birds (Study 3). The reliability and welfare impact of the devices, along with comparisons with a control method (MCD) were evaluated via post-mortem analysis, reflex and behaviour durations, and characteristics of electroencephalography (EEG) analysis. Due to consistently high kill success rates and rapid loss of reflexes, as well as short durations of EEG activity indicating consciousness across three laboratory experiments, the NMCD device was shown to have the most promise as a mechanical device to be used as an alternative to MCD for poultry stock-workers and keepers. The final experiment explored the user-reliability and practicality of the NMCD device in two relevant commercial environments (a layer hen farm and a broiler farm). When applied by multiple users, the NMCD device did not match the killing performance of MCD, however it did show promise and the study highlighted the need for further refinement in the training protocol in order to encompass the wide variation in MCD techniques and experience.
The result of this project is a novel on-farm mechanical killing device, which shows great potential in laboratory experiments and competed with the traditional MCD method in commercial environments. Further training refinements are required in order to develop the device into a marketable product which any individual could purchase and use as a humane method for killing poultry.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture > SF600 Veterinary Medicine
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine > Transmission Dynamics
Supervisor's Name: Sandilands, Dr Victoria and Mckeegan, Dr Dorothy and Sparrey, Julian
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Dr Jessica Martin
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6634
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2015 14:53
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2016 14:18

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