Mohan Raj; Presentation at the UPC meeting 2004

On December 16, 2004, Dr. Mohan Raj held a three-hour seminar on the “Welfare, Economic and Practical Implications of Gas Stunning Prior to Poultry Slaughter” at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington that stirred up lots of discussions throughout the US Poultry industry at that timme, DC. Dr. Raj is Senior Research Fellow in the Farm Animal Division of the School of Clinical Veterinary Science at the University of Bristol, Langford, UK (England). One of his main conclusions was that “Use of anoxia [absence of oxygen] is far more humane than gas mixtures containing carbon dioxide.”. After almost 8 years, the Anoxia equipment is commercially available, also in the USA. Form more info, sent your request to


Lotta Berg 2009: On-farm killing poultry at the Nordic Poultry conference in Reykjavik

This document was presented at the Nordic Poultry conference in Reykjavik in November 2009, before the Anoxia method was commercially available.

Dr. Berg compares in this document different methods of emergency killing of poultry, applicable within the Nordic poultry industry (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland).


Lotta Berg 2009: WSPA conference Poultry welfare AI

In this paper various bird welfare aspects related to avian influenza and other contagious diseases are discussed. Disease outbreaks will, apart from the obvious direct effects on bird health, and thereby their wellbeing, also indirectly influence the welfare of the birds. For example, restrictions on outdoor access for free-range poultry may be imposed, and vaccination or testing schemes may lead to handling or sampling procedures that are stressful to the birds.

At the same time, the immediate risk of a disease outbreak may lead to improved biosecurity measures on farms, which may in turn decrease the risk of other diseases entering the premises, thus resulting in improved bird health and welfare.


Lotta Berg 2007: ISAH conference emergency poultry killing

This presentation summarizes methods available for killing poultry during outbreaks of epizootic or zoonotic diseases. Available methods for killing poultry are listed and discussed with relation to practical aspects, biosecurity, animal welfare, occupational hazards and other pros and cons of each method.

The stunning methods mentioned are blow to the head, electrical stunning and captive bold stunning, all mainly applicable for small or possibly medium-sized farms. The killing methods discussed are bleeding, neck dislocation, maceration, injection of barbiturates, carbon dioxide (in-house, in containers, in flow-containers), nitrogen and argon gas, of which some are suitable also for large poultry flocks.


Anoxia equipment commercially available within the EU

The most animal welfare friendly euthanasia technique for killing poultry is now commercially available within the EU. According to Regulation EU 1099/2009 each poultry farm within the EU need to be equipped with a slaughter technique (listed in this new regulation). Manual techniques like neck pulling are banned from being used. This means that each poultry farm in Europe needs to be equipped with euthanasia equipment that this technique is easy to use.

The method we developed is based on the principle of Anoxia: total absence of oxygen, using only water, soap, and nitrogen. The animals are stunned within 30 seconds. 25 seconds later, the animals die without any unnecessary stress or pain.

The Anoxia method is developed by Anoxia Europe BV (Hoge Eng 52a, 3881 TN Putten, Holland. For more info, please contact dr. Michiel van Mil, +31 341-701687, Mobile +31 652 266944, email


Guangdong reports new case of H7N9 bird flu

Shanghai Daily, August 10, 2013, Saturday. A NEW suspected case of human infection with the H7N9 strain of avian influenza was reported yesterday in south China’s Guangdong Province. The Guangdong Provincial Department of Health announced that the sample from a female patient in Huizhou City had tested positive for the virus in initial tests on Tuesday. The 51-year-old woman, surnamed Chen, is in critical condition, the department said. She is now being treated in Huizhou City Central People’s Hospital. Chen had been a poultry slaughtering worker in a local market for many years, the department added. Thirty-six people who had close contact with her have been put under medical observation. They have shown no abnormal symptoms so far, the department said.Chen tested positive for H7N9 in the Huizhou City Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday. The result was later confirmed when it was checked by the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The provincial department has dispatched a team of five medical experts to the hospital to help with Chen’s treatment.

The Guangdong Provincial Agricultural Department has allocated five tons of disinfectant to prevent the virus from spreading further. China ended the emergency response to the H7N9 avian flu outbreak in late May. Health authorities said on Thursday that the country maintains its assessment on the public health risks of H7N9 avian flu, despite a research paper indicating possible human-to-human transmission. Deng Haihua, spokesman with the National Health and Family Planning Commission, confirmed that health authorities were aware of the cases mentioned by the research paper, which was published by the British Medical Journal on Tuesday. “The report on the British Medical Journal does not change China’s judgement of public health risks imposed by the disease,” said Deng. A father and his daughter died of H7N9 in east China’s Jiangsu Province in April. Researchers in Jiangsu studied the two cases and concluded that the virus may have spread from father to daughter.


Gain of-function experiments on H7N9

Twenty-two researchers from labs across the world submitted a letter to Nature and Science yesterday detailing their proposed “gain-of-function” research on the avian influenza virus H7N9.

Their work would genetically engineer H7N9 to make it both more virulent and more readily transmissible person-to-person. The research sounds controversial, not the least because one of the scientists involved is Dr. Ron Fouchier, whose on gain-of-function work on H5N1 ingnited furious debate over what should research should and shouldn’t be published.

However, there is a very real possibility that H7N9 will naturally mutate to transmit effectively between people. We already know that the virus is just a single amino acid mutation away from becoming easily transmissible between people. Indeed, news of the first confirmed case of such transmission was published in the British Medical Journal this week.

With a 60% fatality rate and a completely naive global population, the results would be catastrophic. The proposed research would give us an idea of potential pandemic scenarios, giving us a head start on potential vaccine and antiviral development.

It may be controversial, but it’s absolutely necessary.


Toepassen Verordening EU 1099/2009 binnen de varkensindustrie

Ondanks de nieuwe EU verordening worden pasgeboren biggen veelal handmatig – met inzet van fysieke kracht – gedood, bij gebrek aan een passende techniek die is toegestaan op grond van de Europese verordening. De verordening is weliswaar rechtstreeks van kracht in alle lidstaten, maar volgens artikel 26 van de nieuwe verordening kunnen lidstaten wel stringentere nationale voorschriften handhaven, onder andere m.b.t. het doden van dieren buiten een slachthuis.

Het Besluit doden van dieren beperkt op dit moment de mogelijkheden die de verordening biedt. Dit leidt tot een onaanvaardbare situaties voor Nederlandse varkensboeren. Dit kan niet de bedoeling geweest zijn van de Nederlandse wetgever en daarom is het zaak dat het Besluit houders van dieren zo snel mogelijk in werking treedt.
De verordening is weliswaar rechtstreeks van kracht in alle lidstaten, maar volgens artikel 26 van de nieuwe verordening kunnen lidstaten wel stringentere nationale voorschriften handhaven, onder andere m.b.t. het doden van dieren buiten een slachthuis.

Het Besluit doden van dieren beperkt op dit moment de mogelijkheden die de verordening biedt. Dit leidt tot een onaanvaardbare situaties voor Nederlandse varkensboeren. Dit kan niet de bedoeling geweest zijn van de Nederlandse wetgever en daarom is het zaak dat het Besluit houders van dieren zo snel mogelijk in werking treedt.


Besluiten houders van dieren en diergeneeskundigen

De Wet dieren en de daarop gebaseerde gedelegeerde regelgeving brengt de tot nu toe fragmentarische wetgeving met betrekking tot dieren samen tot een integraal geheel. Hierbij worden de nu op grond van de Gezondheids- en welzijnswet voor dieren (Gwwd) geldende regels opnieuw vormgegeven.

Het gaat dus niet om een stelsel van nieuwe regels. De nieuwe systematiek biedt helderheid over geldende regelingen en is toegankelijker voor de gebruikers. De regels omtrent diergeneesmiddelen (Besluit en Regeling diergeneesmiddelen), dierlijke producten (Besluit en Regeling dierlijke producten) en diervoeders (Besluit en Regeling diervoeders) zijn per 1 januari jl. al in werking getreden.

De inwerkingtreding van de Besluiten houders van dieren en diergeneeskundigen is voorzien voor de zomer 2013. De belangrijkste reden om deze beide besluiten zo snel mogelijk in werking te laten treden is dat daarmee een voor dierenwelzijnregelgeving nieuw handhavinginstrument van kracht wordt, namelijk de bestuurlijke boete. Onder de Gwwd kan aan overtreders van dierenwelzijnregels geen bestuurlijke boete worden gegeven. Met invoering van de Wet dieren en onderliggende besluiten kan dat wel.

Een bestuurlijke boete is een sterke prikkel om een overtreder zijn gedrag te laten aanpassen en leidt tot het verhogen van de naleving van welzijnsregels en biedt een effectievere aanpak van overtreders.


FAO lessons learned from HPAI outbreaks in Asia 2005 – 2011

FAO has published a report on lessons learned from from the fight against highly pathogenic avian influenza in Asia between 2005 and 2011. Since the emergence of H5N1 HPAI in 2003, the disease situation has evolved considerably. At the peak of avian influenza (AI) outbreaks in 2006, 63 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa were affected by the disease; it has now been eliminated from most of these countries. H5N1 is currently entrenched in a number of countries in Asia and the disease is endemic in China, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Bangladesh and large parts of eastern India. A number of countries in Asia, including the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR),Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal, also experience regular outbreaks.

The period 2004 to 2008 saw a steady decline in disease outbreaks in poultry. While there has been an apparent increase in outbreak numbers since 2009, the 2011/2012 HPAI season saw a significant decline in poultry outbreaks. The last newly-infected country was Bhutan; this outbreak took place in February 2010. However, the disease is known to be under-reported and there is increasing evidence that H5N1 HPAI has become endemic in some of the smaller countries in Asia that have relatively undeveloped poultry industries; such countries include Cambodia and Nepal. It is estimated that the disease has resulted in the loss of over 400 million domestic poultry and has caused economic losses of over US$20 billion.

The information, generated from isolation and genetic and antigenic characterization of a large number of viruses in Asia and other parts of the world, coupled with the information on disease outbreaks, has improved our understanding of the virus’s evolution and the implications for its spread, infectivity and suitability for use in the development of vaccines. The current trends in evolution present a number of concerns, which include the emergence of second-, third- and fourth-order clades, demonstrating rapid evolution and rapid replacement of virus strains in some endemic regions, and the emergence of antigenic diversity, including changes in receptor binding capacity and the ability to break through existing vaccine strains.