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Mechanical, electrical or gas stunning; slaughter methods and monitoring signs of unconsciousness or consciousness
Cutting and bleeding methods for conventional slaughter

Cutting/bleeding of red meat species including ratites

  • The licence holder's written PCP should include the following preventive measures, procedures and information:
    • stunned animals are bled out as soon as possible and remain insensible until death
    • the time between effective stun and effective stick is kept to a minimum
    • animals are bled by incising a carotid artery and jugular vein close to the cranial part of the neck, or close to the place from which they arise (chest sticking):
      • chest sticking is strongly recommended as it results in a massive flow of blood rapidly when done properly
      • the blood flow from sticking is adequate to prevent occlusion during bleed out
      • For ostriches and rheas, to promote better bleeding, it is preferable to sever the major blood vessels (jugular veins and carotids) in the caudal cervical area near the thoracic inlet provided the thoracic cavity is not penetrated.
      • Emus may be bled by cutting the major vessels near the cranial part of the neck similar to turkeys
  • staff members are able to observe, inspect, and access the animals for emergency re-stunning if required
  • during bleed out, if any animal returns to sensibility, the stun and slaughter of all other animals stop, and the situation is corrected immediately
  • no scalding or singeing , skinning or dressing procedure is performed on any animal until bleeding is complete and the animal is dead

Cutting/bleeding of rabbits

  • bleeding occurs as soon as possible after stunning, especially if head-only electric stun is used
  • in general, best practice is under 15 seconds for head-only electric stunning; however since rabbits can return to sensibility rapidly, within 5 seconds is preferable
  • bleeding is to be performed by severing at least one jugular vein and carotid artery or by decapitation
    • when cutting the blood vessels using a transverse incision, it is recommended to severe both carotids and jugular veins for rapid bleed-out
  • decapitation is only acceptable after effective stunning
  • dressing procedures are not started until the rabbit is dead

Cutting/bleeding of poultry

  • both carotid arteries and jugular veins of birds should be severed since this is the fastest method of exsanguination and results in rapid blood loss and death
  • automated neck cutting requires:
    • operational procedures that ensure birds do not pile up at the entry to the guide bars
    • monitoring the cut to ensure that it is properly placed (below the mandible)
    • birds should be bled within 15 seconds of electric stunning
    • birds should bleed for at least 90 seconds
    • they are monitored on the bleed rail to ensure that they do not return to consciousness
    • they are dead before they enter the scald tank to avoid extreme suffering due to death from scalding if still possibly sensible
    • efficacy of the stunning and automated neck-cutting equipment should be checked by trained personnel each time the line starts up, at the start of each shift and at the beginning of a new lot of birds to ensure stunning and slaughter are effective and humane
    • efficacy of backup stunning equipment is checked at the same frequency to ensure the deviation procedure for failed stuns is working

Uncut red birds and inadequately bled birds

  • there is zero tolerance for birds missing the automatic knife and being missed by the backup cutter after stunning methods that have any potential to be reversible
  • these animals have a strong possibility of entering the scald tank alive and fully conscious (uncut red birds)
  • an uncut red bird represents a failure of the slaughter process
  • the cause of the failure should be immediately investigated by the licence holder
  • the licence holder should take immediate effective corrective actions to prevent similar failures
  • all incidents and related corrective actions should be documented
  • inadequately bled birds differ from uncut red birds
  • they have a neck cut, but for a variety of reasons, the bleed out is not effective
  • the probability, in general, is that these birds were dead before entering the scald tank
  • the presence of these mild to brick-red carcasses at the preselection station may be an indication of improper sticking
  • when carcasses have been neck-cut but have not bled out properly, the licence holder should evaluate the stunning and killing procedures, develop and implement a corrective action to prevent recurrence
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