Other Methods

The use of a firearm (free bullet weapons and shotguns) to slaughter poultry is not safe or practical and is not recommended.  However, their use by appropriately-trained and licensed personnel may be necessary under certain circumstances involving individual, free-ranging birds.

Instruments that slice through a bird’s brain from inside the mouth should not be used as they are not effective, immediate or humane. Neck-crushing pliers, as discussed in Neck Dislocation Techniques, must never be used without effective prior stunning.

Decapitation involves severing the head from the neck using an axe or sharp blade. It is not recommended on welfare grounds as brain activity may continue for up to 30 seconds and it is doubtful the bird is rendered immediately unconscious. Decapitation is not an acceptable method of slaughter without prior stunning. In the EU, slaughter or killing birds by decapitation without prior stunning is not permitted.

Please note that decapitation using an axe or sharp blade is different to accidentally decapitating the bird in the process of neck dislocation - in the latter case, the stretching damage to the base of the brain and spinal cord is more likely to cause rapid loss of consciousness.

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