The effects of amount and frequency of alternating current used in water bath stunning and of slaughter methods on electroencephalograms in broilers
The effectiveness of electrical water bath stunning of 172 individual broilers for 1 s with a constant root mean square (RMS) current of 100, 150 or 200 mA, delivered using a variable voltage/constant current stunner with 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200 or 1400 Hz sine wave alternating current (AC), followed by slaughter using a unilateral or ventral neck-cutting procedure, was evaluated. A binary logistic regression of broilers showing epileptiform activity or not following stunning showed that both the electrical frequency (Hz) and RMS current (mA) had a significant effect on the probability of the electroencephalogram (EEG) manifestation. The univariate analysis of variance showed that the time to the onset of less than 10% of the pre-stun relative power contents was significantly affected only by the interaction between electrical frequency and slaughter method. A similar analysis of variance of the time to reach less than 10% of the pre-stun total power content showed slaughter method, RMS current, the slaughter method/frequency interaction and the RMS current/frequency interaction to be either significant or approaching significance. Based on these results it is recommended that effective water bath stunning of broilers with a minimum constant current of 100, 150 and 200 mA could be achieved with electrical frequencies of up to 200, 600 and 800 Hz, respectively. In addition, It is likely that electrical frequencies of above 800 Hz would have required a minimum current of greater than 200 mA to induce epileptiform activity in the EEGs of broilers.
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