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The application of humane slaughterhouse practices to large-scale culling

, : The application of humane slaughterhouse practices to large-scale culling. Revue Scientifique et Technique 33(1): 291-301

Mass culling is a strategy used inthe management of infectious disease outbreaks. The risk of disease spread due to animal transportation often precludes the use of slaughterhouses for this purpose, though they have been used on occasion. Consequently, culling takes place in the less-than-standardised environment on the farm. Regardless of where the cull occurs, the methods chosen to handle and kill the animals must preserve their welfare. This paper attempts to apply the best welfare practices from the controlled environment of the slaughterhouse to the mass culling of ruminants, pigs and poultry. It investigates the key welfare challenges and identifies astute planning executed by competent personnel as a crucial success factor. The urgency; capacity; species, type and age of the animal; personnel; and availability of equipment determine the restraint and killing methods used. The use of good on-farm restraining facilities and mobile killing devices can reasonably be expected to maintain welfare standards for ruminants and poultry. The pig's anatomy, natural behaviour, wide age range and housing types present additional challenges. Objective monitoring throughout the operation is vital for implementing immediate corrective measures whilst also informing procedural reviews. The authors suggest a monitoring tool based on a system currently used in abattoirs, but its limitations must first be validated.


PMID: 25000802

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