You are here: HomeNews & EventsNew stunning method shows potential
New stunning method shows potential feature image

New stunning method shows potential

14 October 2013

A new method for stunning livestock at slaughter may have the potential for significant animal welfare benefits, as well as having operational and economic advantages, concluded a recent workshop convened by the HSA. 

Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning (LAPS) is a method which utilizes controlled reduction in air pressure causing oxygen insufficiency – in humans unconsciousness caused by oxygen insufficiency is associated with little or no discomfort. The workshop was held in London, England, in September to discuss developments in this system, the outcome of scientific work regarding its humaneness, its potential for wide application, and what further work might be needed relating to this.

The meeting was attended by participants with scientific, technical, animal welfare and legislative interests, with presentations given by Dr Karen Christensen of OK Foods, Arkansas, USA, who are successfully using LAPS for broilers, and Dr Dorothy McKeegan of the University of Glasgow, UK, who has undertaken research work evaluating the humaneness of LAPS.

The LAPS system at OK Foods has been developed over three years with Mississippi State University and the University of Arkansas, together with the manufacturer, TechnoCatch of Kosciusko, Missisippi. It is capable of handling over 20,000 birds an hour and has been in full commercial use at OK Foods since early 2011. Dr McKeegan’s research has focused on evaluating the humaneness of the method using EEG and ECG data from the birds.

“The experience gained in using the system, together with the research, appears to have produced very positive results from welfare, operational and economic perspectives,” said James Kirkwood, Chief Executive of the HSA. “The LAPS system appears to offer significant advantages over other commercial methods of slaughter currently in use for broilers and we hope that, by bringing interested parties together, the workshop will stimulate further research and development of the system both for broilers and other species.”

The workshop has gained significant media interest, including coverage in the Vet Record and New Scientist.  

A full report of the workshop may be downloaded here.


Images courtesy of Technocatch

Back to top