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Transcranial magnetic stunning of broilers: a preliminary trial to induce unconsciousness

By E. Lambooij, H. Anil, S. R. Butler, H. Reimert, L. Workel, V. Hindle

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This study was performed to identify whether non-focal transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with an adapted coil for broilers has the potential for use as a non-invasive stunning method for broilers. Application of the TMS probe resulted in dominance of theta and delta waves and appearance of spikes in the electroencephalogram (EEG) after stimulation. Correlation dimension (CD) analyses of the EEG signals recorded prior to and following the application of TMS suggested that the birds might be unconscious for approximately 15 to 20 s assuming that a reduction in CD to 60% of the baseline value indicates unconsciousness. Other observations included loss of behavioural arousal or muscle tone (muscle flaccidity), and irregular heart rate after TMS. It can be suggested that TMS has the potential to be developed as a stunning method in the future. The technique, evaluated using small number of broilers in this study, requires further improvement and the use of a power supply optimised in future research. Transcranial magnetic stimulation of the brain has potential for application as a non-invasive stunning method for broilers, which could be acceptable to some religious groups opposed to the use of established or conventional stunning methods.

Date 2011
Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 20
Issue 3
Pages 407-412
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
Language English
Author Address Wageningen UR, Livestock Research, PO Box 65, 8200 AB Lelystad, Netherlands.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal physiology
  2. Animal rights
  3. Animal slaughter
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Birds
  6. Brain
  7. Cerebrum
  8. Chickens
  9. Diagnosis
  10. Domesticated birds
  11. Dominance
  12. Electroencephalograms
  13. Fowls
  14. Heart
  15. Heart rate
  16. Meat animals
  17. Methodologies
  18. Methods
  19. muscles
  20. peer-reviewed
  21. Poultry
  22. stimulation
  23. stunning
  24. Techniques
  1. peer-reviewed