Pathophysiology of Concussive Non-Penetrative Captive Bolt Stunning of Turkeys

Gibson, T J and King, E and Spence, J and Limon, G (2019) Pathophysiology of Concussive Non-Penetrative Captive Bolt Stunning of Turkeys. Animals, 9 (12). p. 1049.

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Abstract

The non-penetrative captive bolt (NPCB) has been proposed as a more humane and practical alternative to constant voltage electrical stunning for small-scale seasonal turkey producers. This study evaluated the effectiveness of the CASH® Small Animal Tool (SAT) (formerly known as the CASH® Poultry Killer, CPK) and three configurations of the Turkey Euthanasia Device (TED), assessing behavioural, cranial/spinal responses and brain pathology. Immediately after stunning all birds showed cessation of rhythmic breathing and loss of neck and beak tension. One bird shot with the TED/hen configuration showed a positive nictitating membrane reflex in one eye with no other positive reflexes. All birds had moderate/severe gross damage to the hyperpallium layer over the cerebrums. For almost all other cerebrum structures, thalamus, and hindbrain, the TED/poult configuration and SAT produced the most extensive damage. The frequency of petechial haemorrhage in the pons and medulla was less in SAT shot birds (76% and 71% respectively) compared to those shot with the different configurations of the TED (ranging from 81% to 100%), however this difference was not significant. In conclusion, both NPCB guns were effective in inducing unconsciousness in turkeys, regardless of the variations in shot position and the different configurations of the TED.

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