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Handling for shackling

It is important that personnel responsible for unloading and shackling birds are trained to competently protect the welfare of each bird they handle.

Animals may be stressed by humans handling them, particularly if the animals are unfamiliar or inexperienced with such contact and/or with a handling process. Birds may already be under some stress following the on-farm catching procedure and subsequent transport.

At the abattoir, exposure to any additional stressors should be avoided or minimised in order to reduce bird activity, protect them from physical injury and to keep any animal communication of potential stress to an absolute minimum. This can be achieved by limiting the amount of handling and ensuring the handling procedures do not arouse panic in the birds. Personnel must work in a manner which reduces risk of injury to themselves and to the bird, and which minimises any fear a bird may experience. For example, Table 1 lists actions shacklers should ‘aim to’ achieve and actions to ‘avoid’. Rough handling can result in distress, alarm vocalisations, increased bird activity, bruises, broken bones and dislocated joints, all of which influence the ultimate quality of the carcass.

Although it is not preferred for animal welfare, if birds are unloaded en masse and conveyed to a shackling point, the conveyor systems must be constructed so as to prevent any part of a bird becoming trapped and there must be no obstructions that birds might collide with during carriage. Conveyors must allow birds to maintain their balance, ie birds should be able to maintain an upright posture during carriage, without flapping. To achieve this, conveyors must be kept at shallow angles, have non-slip surfaces and move in a smooth manner, without jolting.





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