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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Nitrous Oxide for Piglet Euthanasia: Validation by Electroencephalography (EEG)

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Project Number: 5020-32000-011-07-A
Project Type: Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 23, 2013
End Date: Sep 30, 2014

To develop and validate a gas euthanasia procedure that leads to humane death of the piglets and that is practical and feasible on-farm. Specific objectives are: 1) evaluate aversiveness of inhaling nitrous oxide and oxygen; 2) validate effectiveness and humaneness of nitrous oxide and oxygen to induce loss of consciousness by EEG recording.

We will use an approach-avoidance test. The piglets can walk freely between chambers, one with air (control) and another with the gas mixture (test). Attractive stimuli including heat lamps, scent of dam's udder, a speaker playing nursing grunts, dry powdered milk and others will be used to entice piglets to enter the test chamber. The test is designed as a conflict situation and will continue for 10 min. Recorded behavior will be analyzed from above based on location and activity. Heart rate will be collected by fitting piglet with a belt and heart rate recorder. 7 and 14 day old piglets will be used.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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