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Title: Humane mechanical methods for killing poultry on-farm
Author: Martin, Jessica E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 0182
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2015
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Worldwide, an estimated 9.1 billion birds may need to be killed on farm each year. As of January 2013 the use of manual cervical dislocation (MCD) as a killing method for poultry on-farm has been heavily restricted through new EU legislation (EC 1099/2009) on the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing, following reported welfare concerns. The method by which birds are killed on farm is crucial to poultry welfare on a large scale. The overall aim of this project was to design a mechanical device conforming to the new legislation to kill poultry humanely on-farm and provide a competitive replacement for MCD. Following a survey and a literature review, four mechanical devices were designed and prototyped: Modified Armadillo (MARM); Modified Pliers (MPLI); Modified Rabbit Zinger (MZIN) and a Novel mechanical cervical dislocation glove (NMCD). The devices were tested for killing efficacy in three laboratory experiments, assessing their performance in poultry cadavers (Study 1), anaesthetised birds (Study 2) and live conscious birds (Study 3). The reliability and welfare impact of the devices, along with comparisons with a control method (MCD) were evaluated via post-mortem analysis, reflex and behaviour durations, and characteristics of electroencephalography (EEG) analysis. Due to consistently high kill success rates and rapid loss of reflexes, as well as short durations of EEG activity indicating consciousness across three laboratory experiments, the NMCD device was shown to have the most promise as a mechanical device to be used as an alternative to MCD for poultry stock-workers and keepers. The final experiment explored the user-reliability and practicality of the NMCD device in two relevant commercial environments (a layer hen farm and a broiler farm). When applied by multiple users, the NMCD device did not match the killing performance of MCD, however it did show promise and the study highlighted the need for further refinement in the training protocol in order to encompass the wide variation in MCD techniques and experience. The result of this project is a novel on-farm mechanical killing device, which shows great potential in laboratory experiments and competed with the traditional MCD method in commercial environments. Further training refinements are required in order to develop the device into a marketable product which any individual could purchase and use as a humane method for killing poultry.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QP Physiology ; S Agriculture (General) ; SF600 Veterinary Medicine