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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Poultry Microbiological Safety & Processing Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #368102

Research Project: Production and Processing Intervention Strategies for Poultry Associated Foodborne Pathogens

Location: Poultry Microbiological Safety & Processing Research

Title: Equipment and Methods for Poultry Euthanasia by a Single Operator

Author
item BOYAL, RANJIT - Auburn University
item Buhr, Richard - Jeff
item Harris, Caitlin
item JACOBS, L - Virginia Tech
item BOURASSA, DIANNA - Auburn University

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/25/2020
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Euthanasia of production animals is a matter of humane disposition that occurs when the animal’s continued existence is no longer a rational option as perceived by the owner and veterinarian. Animals that become injured or are unthrifty to the point they can no longer stand and walk to obtain feed and water requires prompt euthanasia. The most common method for euthanizing poultry on the farm is manual cervical dislocation which is practical for young birds weighing less than 5 pounds. Euthanasia of large poultry can be extremely difficult using manual cervical dislocation, especially if the animal is injured. Performing euthanasia by a single person of larger broiler breeders and turkeys is also challenging. Due to this difficulty alternative methods for euthanasia have been developed including mechanical cervical dislocation, non-penetrative captive bolt, carbon dioxide, and electrical euthanasia. Each method has perceived advantages and disadvantages and the preferred method will depend on the needs of the end user. In this report the development of an apparatus designed to restrain the bird and allow for individual bird euthanasia by a single operator using these four euthanasia methods are described. The mobile bird euthanasia apparatus to restrain the birds and both the carbon dioxide and electrical euthanasia equipment were constructed from locally purchased components that required assembly. The Koechner euthanizing device for mechanical cervical dislocation and the Turkey Euthanasia Device for captive bolt euthanasia are commercially available for purchase. Each of these four euthanasia methods is effective and is approved for use for poultry by the American Veterinary Medical Association. All four of the methods were determined to be successfully in the euthanasia of large birds (broiler breeders and turkeys) with minimal training by a single operator using the mobile bird euthanasia apparatus.

Technical Abstract: Euthanasia of large poultry can be particularly challenging due to the difficulty of manual cervical dislocation of large older birds, especially if the animal is injured. The act of euthanasia is intended to swiftly render the animal unconscious and rapidly die in a humane manner. Euthanasia by a single person can be challenging when euthanizing broiler breeders and turkeys. The preference for each method of euthanasia is based on several factors, such as time to unconsciousness, insensibility, injury, stress response, broken skin, or blood loss. Due to the difficulty of manual cervical dislocation, alternative methods for euthanasia have been developed including mechanical cervical dislocation, non-penetrative captive bolt, carbon dioxide, and electrical euthanasia. Each method has perceived advantages and disadvantages and the preferred method will depend on the needs of the end user. In this report the development of an apparatus designed to allow for individual bird euthanasia by a single operator, four euthanasia methods for large poultry, and the costs associated with each are described. The mobile bird euthanasia apparatus (MBEA) was constructed from $154 of materials. The Koechner Euthanizing Device (KED) for mechanical cervical dislocation ($237) and the Turkey Euthanasia Device (TED) for captive bolt euthanasia ($1,432) are commercially available for purchase. The carbon dioxide and electrical euthanasia methods are constructed from purchased components costing approximately $88 and $146, respectively, and require assembly. Each of these four euthanasia methods is effective and approved for use for poultry by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).