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Author: Temple Grandin

Abstract

Objective—To determine the percentages of cattle that are stunned correctly and that vocalize (moo or bellow) when a major meat-buying customer conducts slaughter plant audits.

Design—Survey of existing practices.

Sample Population—22 federally inspected slaughter plants.

Procedure—The 3 variables evaluated in each slaughter plant were stunning efficacy, insensibility on the bleed rail, and vocalization.

Results—Of the 22 slaughter plants, 17 (77%) rendered ≥ 95% of the cattle insensible with a single shot from a captive bolt stunner. Twenty slaughter plants (91%) rendered 100% of the cattle completely insensible before hanging them on the bleed rail. Eighteen of 21 (86%) slaughter plants achieved cattle vocalization scores of ≤ 3%. The mean vocalization score for all slaughter plants was 3.08%. Vocalization ranged from 0.66 to 17%.

Conclusions—Results of this study indicate that audits of slaughter plants by major meat-buying customers may motivate the meat industry to improve handling and stunning practices. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;216:848–851)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Author: Temple Grandin

Abstract

Objective—To determine causes and solutions for return-to-sensibility problems after electrical stunning in pigs.

Design—Case studies.

Sample Population—6 federally inspected pork slaughter plants.

Procedure—100 to 200 pigs were scored in each plant for stunner positioning, squealing when stunner was applied, and signs of insensibility. All pigs were held in a V-shaped restrainer conveyor and stunned with a manually applied head-to-body electrical stunner.

Results—Percentage of pigs that had blinking after stunning ranged from 0.5 to 7. None of the pigs had a righting reflex or kicked in response to stimuli. All signs of possible return to sensibility disappeared before bleeding pigs reached the scalding tub. Spontaneous eye blinking was eliminated by improving bleeding practices to increase blood flow, ergonomically redesigning the stunner operator's work station to make correct placement of the stunner easier, redesigning the head electrode to facilitate correct placement, reducing line speed from 1,200 to 1,080 head/h, correcting problems with poor initial contact of the stunner, and increasing amperage of a stunner that was set too low for sows. In 1 plant, a fatigued operator was the cause of stunner placement mistakes that resulted in signs of returning to sensibility.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Problems with electrical stunning can be easily corrected, but effective stunning requires monitoring of correct electrode placement, amperage, and bleeding procedures. Observation of spontaneous natural eye blinking without touching the eye is recommended for use under field conditions, because it is less prone to misinterpretation than are other methods. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:608–611)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Author: Temple Grandin

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate efficacy of penetrating captive bolt stunning of cattle in commercial beef slaughter plants and identify potential causes of a return to sensibility among stunned cattle.

Design—Observational study.

Sample Population—21 federally inspected commercial beef slaughter plants.

Procedure—In each plant, stunning of at least 100 cattle (19 large plants) or a minimum of 1 hour of production (2 small plants) was observed, and cattle were evaluated for signs of returning to sensibility on the bleed rail. Cattle with a limp, flaccid head, a lack of spontaneous blinking, and an absence of a righting reflex were considered insensible.

Results—In 17 of the 21 (81%) plants, all cattle were rendered insensible before they were hoisted onto the bleed rail. The remaining 4 plants had cattle that had signs of returning to sensibility; these cattle were restunned prior to skinning or leg removal. Of 1,826 fed steers and heifers, 3 (0.16%) had signs of returning to sensibility, whereas 8 of 692 (1.2%) bulls and cows did. Return-to-sensibility problems were attributed to storage of stunner cartridges in damp locations, poor maintenance of firing pins, inexperience of the stunner operator (ie, shooting cattle too high on the forehead), misfiring of the stunner because of a dirty trigger, and stunning of cattle with thick, heavy skulls.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that efficiency of captive bolt stunning of cattle in commercial slaughter plants can be safely and objectively assessed. Care should be taken to maintain stunners correctly, particularly when stunning bulls and cows with heavy skulls. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:1258–1261)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To explore the extent to which veterinary colleges and schools accredited by the AVMA Council on Education (COE) have incorporated specific courses related to animal welfare, behavior, and ethics.

DESIGN Survey and curriculum review.

SAMPLE

All 49 AVMA COE-accredited veterinary colleges and schools (institutions).

PROCEDURES The study consisted of 2 parts. In part 1, a survey regarding animal welfare, behavior, and ethics was emailed to the associate dean of academic affairs at all 49 AVMA COE-accredited institutions. In part 2, the curricula for the 30 AVMA COE-accredited institutions in the United States were reviewed for courses on animal behavior, ethics, and welfare.

RESULTS Seventeen of 49 (35%) institutions responded to the survey of part 1, of which 10 offered a formal animal welfare course, 9 offered a formal animal behavior course, 8 offered a formal animal ethics course, and 5 offered a combined animal welfare, behavior, and ethics course. The frequency with which courses on animal welfare, behavior, and ethics were offered differed between international and US institutions. Review of the curricula for the 30 AVMA COE-accredited US institutions revealed that 6 offered a formal course on animal welfare, 22 offered a formal course on animal behavior, and 18 offered a formal course on animal ethics.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested that AVMA COE-accredited institutions need to provide more formal education on animal welfare, behavior, and ethics so veterinarians can be advocates for animals and assist with behavioral challenges.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association