Rabbit farming: What’s allowed to kill rabbits on farms under EU 1099/2009?

New culling strategies need to be developed to implement Directive EU 1099/2009 into husbandry practices of farmed rabbits and to improve the welfare during on farm culling of sick and crippled rabbits. New stamping out strategies need to be developed and included in Directive EU 1099/2009 to manage large-scale disease outbreaks under farmed rabbits.

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Rabbit farming: Animal welfare management according to EU 1099/2009

Rabbit farming is a small-scale industry that does not have a major national or international representative organisation in most of the EU countries. Over 76% of the total production in the EU is in Italy, Spain and France, and home production is still widespread. The production of jointed and processed products is increasing rapidly compared with whole carcase sales and rabbit meat consumption, although less than other meats, is still significant in some countries.

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AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition

In the 2013 Guidelines, methods, techniques, and agents of euthanasia have been updated and detailed descriptions have been included to assist veterinarians in applying their professional judgment.

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Comparing firefighting foam and 100% Co2 for depopulating poultry

Current control strategies for avian influenza (AI) and other highly contagious poultry diseases include surveillance, quarantine, depopulation, disposal, and decontamination. Selection of the best method of emergency mass depopulation needs to maximize human health and safety while minimizing disease spread and animal welfare concerns. An overall goal of this project was to find a way to evaluate the welfare of the poultry subjected to a depopulation treatment. This study consisted of two experiments to evaluate the efficacy of mass depopulation methods. Experiment 1 was conducted as a proof of concept for the use of the alpha/delta (A/D) ratio in evaluating the time to loss of consciousness in poultry. Experiment 2 was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of two mass depopulation methods on turkeys. The methods that were tested were carbon dioxide (CO2) gassing and firefighting foam.

Not that, according to Directive EU 1099/2009 firefighting foam is not allowed to be used for culling poultry within the European Union.

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CSR as most effective strategy to implement EU Directive 1099/2009 on farms

On January 19, 2012, EFSA published their assessment report on the new Directive EU 1099/2009. According to our vision, Corporate Social Responsibility CSR is probably the most important part of the EU strategy to implement the directive on farm level. Retailers who included animal welfare in their corporate strategy proved that that enforcing this strategy throughout the entire production chain (including farmers) can be extremely successful to underline what their customers demand. By doing so, these pro-active retailers have a bigger impact on implementing animal welfare that branch organizations of veterinary services.

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Nitrogen production

In the attached presentation, you will find a detailed description of a new animal welfare application based on the use of mobile nitrogen generation: The N2GF Technology. Nitrogen gas foam has some astonishing features:

• Simplicity – creating nitrogen gas foam follows a simple protocol – the systems are easy to assemble – easy to operate – easy to clean & disinfect;
• Cost effective – only affordable disposal materials are used for the culling bag – no maintenance costs – low investments. Compared to existing Co2 systems, the consumption of gas is reduced by up to 80%;
• Safe culling – Nitrogen is non-toxic – safe storage/transport – safe disposal;
• Animal welfare – once the animals are exposed to 99,5% nitrogen in the foam, they are stunned and slaughtered within 1,5 minutes by anoxia;
• Stability – when the gas foam is used in a container, the foam at the entrance of the container works as concealment.

This technology forms the basis for a new slaughter concept based on the use of high expansion foam, filled with 99,5% nitrogen.

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