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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Poultry Microbiological Safety and Processing Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #370329

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

Location: Poultry Microbiological Safety and Processing Research Unit

Title: Knowledge and use of broiler chicken euthanasia methods by animal caretakers

item BOYAL, RANJIT - Auburn University
item Buhr, Richard - Jeff
item Harris, Caitlin
item Bartenfeld Josselson, Lydia
item JACABS, LEONIE - Virginia Polytechnic Institution & State University
item BOURASSA, DIANNA - Auburn University

Submitted to: International Poultry Scientific Forum
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/12/2019
Publication Date: 1/27/2020
Citation: Boyal, R.S., Buhr, R.J., Harris, C.E., Bartenfeld Jossel, L.N., Jacabs, L., Bourassa, D. 2020. Knowledge and use of broiler chicken euthanasia methods by animal caretakers. International Poultry Scientific Forum. M10, p.5.

Interpretive Summary: n/a

Technical Abstract: In both research and commercial broiler chicken production settings, birds must be euthanized for a variety of reasons including culling of unfit or injured animals and prior to use for research sample collection. Animal care personnel require training in order to have the skills necessary to properly perform euthanasia when needed. The objective was to train or retrain care takers how to perform the conventional cervical dislocation euthanasia method as well as four alternative methods including mechanical cervical dislocation, captive bolt, carbon dioxide (CO2), and electrical euthanasia. Following training, participants were surveyed on their previous experience and their evaluation of conventional and alternative methods. Following demonstration and training of each method participants rated their perception of animal welfare acceptability and ease of use. Data were analyzed using the Wilcoxon Mann-Whiney U-test and Kruskal-Wallis test of SAS. Prior to euthanasia training, 91% of participants had previous experience performing euthanasia on broilers with 100% of those having performed cervical dislocation, 33% previously performed electrical euthanasia, and 17% previously performed either CO2 euthanasia or mechanical cervical dislocation. Ease of performing euthanasia by cervical dislocation was rated at 3.4 on a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 defined as very easy and 5 defined as very difficult. Interest in learning alternative methods of euthanasia was rated at 4.3 on a 1 to 5 scale with 1 defined as no interest and 5 defined as very interested. Although training did not influence the perceived animal welfare of each method, mechanical cervical dislocation was not perceived to be more acceptable than captive bolt (P=0.3373), but was perceived to be less acceptable than CO2, electrical euthanasia,a dn cervical dislocation (P=0.0402). Perceived ease of use did not differ among these euthanasia methods (P=0.1724). Upon completion of training, participants had attained the necessary knowledge to apply these methods of euthanasia. The selected method used in the future will ultimately depend on the animal care takers’ available resources and production situation.