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The effects of pulse width of a direct current used in water bath stunning and of slaughter methods on spontaneous electroencephalograms in broilers

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The effect of the pulse width of a direct current (DC) on the effectiveness of electrical water bath stunning, and slaughter, was evaluated in broilers (n = 29). Broilers were individually stunned in a water bath for 1 s with a constant peak current of 400 mA of 200 Hz DC delivered using a variable voltage/constant current stunner. The pulse width of the 200 Hz DC was set at 0.5, 1.5 or 2.5 ms (10, 30 or 50% of 5 ms current cycle). The results showed that pulse width had a significant effect on the incidence of epileptiform activity in the electroencephalograms (EEGs). A pulse width of 10% of the current cycle was less effective than pulse widths of 30 and 50% of the current cycle; there was no significant difference between a pulse width of 30 and 50%. The results of a univariate analysis showed that ventral neck-cutting resulted in a significantly shorter time to the onset of less than 10% of the pre-stun power contents in the 13–30 Hz and 2–30 Hz EEG frequency bands when compared with unilateral neck-cutting. It is concluded that a pulse width of 30 or 50% of the current cycle of 200 Hz DC, delivering 400 mA peak current, was better than using a pulse width of 10% of the current cycle.
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Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; CHICKEN; EEG; ELECTRICAL STUNNING; PULSE WIDTH; SLAUGHTER

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-02-01

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