Gas alternatives to carbon dioxide for euthanasia: A piglet perspective

Published in Animal Science at December 2, 2014. By: J.-L. Rault, K. McMunn, J. Marchant-Forde, D. Lay. Gas alternatives to carbon dioxide for euthanasia: A piglet perspective. ARS-USDA.

 

A humane, practical, economical and socially accepted euthanasia method.

The use of nitrous oxide as an anesthetic/euthanasia agent may prove to be affordable, feasible and more humane than other alternatives.
The neonatal stage is a critical time in the life of a pig, when they are prone to become sick or weak. This is the stage at which most euthanasia procedures are required if the pig is judged unable to recover. Any euthanasia method should be humane, practical, economical and socially acceptable to be universally accepted.

How is the research setup?

This research sought to: 1) identify a method of scientifically determining if piglets find a gas aversive, using an approach-avoidance test which relies on the piglet’s own perspective (Experiments 1 and 2), and 2) test different gas mixtures to determine if they are effective and humane for neonatal piglet euthanasia, using a two-step anesthesia-euthanasia procedure (Experiment 3). The investigators hypothesized that nitrous oxide, and alternatively argon and nitrogen, were less aversive than carbon dioxide and would induce anesthesia prior to using carbon dioxide to complete the euthanasia procedure.

Pigs were allowed to walk freely between one chamber filled with air and another chamber either gradually filled with gas (Experiment 1) or pre-filled with gas (Experiment 2). Experiment 1 tested carbon dioxide, CO2 (90%) and air (10%); nitrous oxide, N2O (60%) and CO2 (30%); argon, Ar (60%) and CO2 (30%); and nitrogen, N2 (60%) and CO2 (30%).

Since piglets had to be removed when they became panicked, the test was shortest (P < 0.01) for the pigs in the CO2 treatment compared to pigs in the N2O/CO2, Ar/CO2, and N2/CO2 treatments, 3.1 ± 0.2, 8.5 ± 0.6, 9.6 ± 0.4, and 9.9 ± 0.1 min, respectively. Nonetheless, all gas mixtures adversely affected the pigs, causing the pigs to leave the test chamber. In Experiment 2, piglets were allowed to enter a chamber pre-filled with N2/CO2 or N2O/CO2 (both 60%/30%). Pigs exposed to the pre-fill chambers entered a state of panic in less than 20 s, much faster in comparison to the gradual fill method, which support than this method was more aversive.

In Experiment 3, piglets were euthanized using a 2-step procedure. Pigs were first placed in a gradual fill chamber with 1 of 4 gas mixtures: 90% CO2, N2/CO2, N2O/CO2 or N2O/O2 (the last three mixtures at 60%/30%) followed by placement into a 90% CO2 pre-fill chamber when the pigs became panicked or were anesthetized. All three gas treatments that contained CO2 killed pigs more quickly than N2O/O2 (P < 0.05). However, N2O/O2 was the only treatment that anesthetized the pigs instead of causing squeals or panic, although requiring about 12 min longer. Although longer, a 2-step procedure in which pigs are anesthetized with a mixture of N2O and O2 prior to being euthanized by immersion in CO2 may prove to be more humane than CO2 alone.

The results

They found that nitrous oxide in oxygen appeared to be less aversive than nitrous oxide, nitrogen, or argon all combined with low (30%) concentrations of carbon dioxide or 90% carbon dioxide by itself. This study is the first to investigate the use of nitrous oxide at sufficiently high concentrations to cause anesthesia.

Nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as laughing gas, has been widely used in human surgery and dental offices for its pain-relieving, sedative and anxiolytic effects. It is cheap, non-flammable, non-explosive, legally accessible and not classified as a drug in the U.S., and already commonly used in the food industry as a propellant for food products. Development of its use into an automated procedure will allow producers to implement it with little effort. Thus its use as an anesthetic/euthanasia agent may prove to be affordable, feasible and more humane than other alternatives.

Share

Animal Euthanasia: What are the challenges?

 

Animal Euthnanasia and its challenges

 

Although commonly used in other settings, defining animal welfare as part of a CSR (corporate social responsibility) setting is not new.
There are many ways to define CSR. What they have in common is that CSR describes how companies manage their business processes. This is to produce an overall positive impact on society. The phenomenon CSR is a value concept that is susceptible to particular ideological and emotional interpretations. Different organizations have framed different definitions – although there is considerable common ground between them.

Some important national players of the food chain at different steps (mainly food retailers and food services) have included animal welfare in their CSR.

Animal Euthanasia: What are the challenges? from Harm Kiezebrink

The anoxia technique

The anoxia technique

Share

Revolutionary new stunning method launched on the EU market

Celle, December 22, 2016, by Harm Kiezebrink

Revolutionary new technique

After 10 years of research & development a revolutionary new stunning technique is introduced. Based on the principles of animal welfare as described in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code of the International Standards of OiE: The Anoxia technique – stunning and killing animals by placing them under atmospheric conditions in an environment without oxygen. The solution is not only simple and safe and cost-efficient; it is also not physically demanding to the farmer and his employees.


Animal welfare

The principle guarantees that the animal(s) are placed in an environment with pure nitrogen, once the high expansion foam, filled with 100% nitrogen, replaces the atmospheric air inside the container. From that moment on, the animal inhales pure nitrogen, an atmospheric gas that all living species are used to and that can be inhaled without any physical reactions because atmospheric air contains 78% nitrogen that is inhaled by every breath.


Simple technique

The newly developed and patented technique is simple. All it needs is a soap dispenser connected to a water tap; a soap concentration; a bottle of pure nitrogen including a regulator; a standard waste 240/340/370 liter wheelie-bin container; and the Anoxia lit that closes and seals of the container. Inside the container, a high expansion foam generator is placed, connected to the water/soap and nitrogen through flexible tubes, connected to the inside of the lid. A chiffon is added to the lid, in order to allow atmospheric air to escape the container when it is filled with foam.

Standard Operating Procedure

According to the Standard Operating Procedure, the water/soap and the nitrogen tubes are connected to the electrical valves on outside of the Anoxia lid. Then the animal(s) are placed in the bin, next to the foam generator. The lid is closed and the foam production is started.


Stunned within 30 seconds

After 30 seconds, the container is filled completely with foam. At the moment that the foam is placed in the container via the chiffon, the foam production is stopped and the chiffon is sealed off. Throughout the foam production process the animals remain calm. The high concentration of nitrogen replaces the oxygen in the blood and via the longs; nitrogen is transported to the organs instead of oxygen. The first organ that reacts is the brain that immediately shuts of consciousness.

Body reactions

The contractions of the muscles start after the brain is no longer able to control the movements of the muscles and is not a sign of stress, like with traditional gas stunning methods, where oxygen is gradually replaced with gasses like CO2 or Argon.
Therefore the Anoxia technique is the revolutionary alternative for existing stunning methods that are based on the use of CO2, electrocution, neck dislocation, captive-bolt, as well as killing methods like de-bleeding and maceration.


Anoxia applications

Several applications based on the Anoxia principle are now introduced for:
1. Stunning and sick and cripple killing piglets less than 5 kg
2. Stunning and killing of sick or cripple poultry (especially poultry > 3kg) who need to be killed on the farm by the staff for welfare purposes (avoiding unnecessary stress or pain)
3. Stunning and killing poultry that arrives on the slaughterhouse but that are unfit to be slaughtered (due to injuries occurred during transportation – providing signs of possible illness etc.)
4. Stunning and killing of male pullets at the hatchery
5. Stunning and killing of half-hatched chickens and embryos in partly-hatched eggs, before destruction
6. Stunning and killing parent stock poultry
7. Killing of animals that has been stunned (captive bolt – blow-on-the-head method, etc.) replacing killing by de-bleeding
8. Culling of ex-layers
9. Culling of poultry for disease control purposes


Sales started December 2016

The first application that’s introduced on market in Germany, Holland, Sweden and Denmark can be applied for Stunning and killing piglets less than 5 kg; – poultry > 3kg (turkey and parent stock); and embryos in partly-hatched eggs.

More info

For more detailed information on the Anoxia technique, please visit www.Anoxia.EU, or send your request for information to the N2GF team at info@n2gf.com and one of our consultants will come back to you as soon as possible.

Name:*
E-mail:*
Address:*
Type of animals*
Number of animals *
Best time to contact you:
Share

Dossier H7N8: All flocks in Indiana ‘euthanized’?

All flocks in Indiana ‘euthanized’?

WattAgNet.com, January 21, 2016. Depopulation has been completed at 10 turkey farms with confirmed avian influenza detections and another nearby layer farm deemed at risk. Depopulation procedures have been completed at 11 farms in Dubois County, Indiana, after the presence of H7N8 avian influenza had been detected at 10 of those farms.

According to the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, 413,163 birds have been depopulated since avian influenza was first confirmed in Dubois County on January 15, 2016. Of the birds euthanized, 257,163 were turkeys and 156,000 were layer chickens.

Ten of those farms were commercial turkey operations, while the layer operation was not infected with avian influenza. However, the Dubois County layer flock was depopulated as a precaution because of its “dangerous” proximity to the affected flocks.

 

H7N8

The first and largest turkey flock to be affected was confirmed to have been infected with highly pathogenic H7N8 avian influenza, while nine others were confirmed to have been hit by a low pathogenic strain of H7N8. The other turkey flock tested positive for the presence of H7N8 avian influenza, but it has not yet been determined whether it was a highly pathogenic or low pathogenic strain.

The flock hit by highly pathogenic avian influenza included 62,213 turkeys.
The bird carcasses from those farms are being composted in the buildings in which they were euthanized.

The Indiana agency reported that during a 24-hour period that started on January 19, 114 commercial farms tested negative for avian influenza. Of those, 62 farms were in the initial 10-kilometer control zone, while the others were in an expanded zone that covered an additional 10 kilometers. The expanded zone includes not only Dubois County, but also Crawford, Daviess, Martin and Orange counties.

State and federal teams have visited nearly 1,600 residences near the site where the first confirmed avian influenza case occurred to search for backyard flocks for precautionary testing. The teams found 67 backyard flocks within that area, and those birds are being tested.

Share

Dossier H7N8

Indiana avian flu cases test ventilation shutdown protocol

WattAgNet Online, 19 January 2016. Emergency depopulation method approved by USDA in September 2015 has been successfully initiated.

Depopulation of birds affected by H7N8 avian influenza by ventilation shutdown has been successfully implemented for the first time.

H7N8 Avian influenza strain

Within the past week, 10 Indiana turkey flocks have been affected by H7N8 avian influenza. Of those ten flocks, one was classified as highly pathogenic while eight others were of the low pathogenic strain. Tests conducted on the tenth flock have not yet determined whether the birds were affected by a highly pathogenic or low pathogenic strain.

According to information provided by the National Turkey Federation, six of the ten affected flocks were successfully depopulated by January 18, while depopulation efforts were underway in the other four. Ventilation shutdown was effectively utilized, according to NTF. In addition, depopulation by foaming was also done, but below freezing temperatures caused operational difficulties with foaming machines.

Ventilation shutdown

Ventilation shutdown was approved by the USDA in September as an emergency method to depopulate poultry flocks that have been affected by avian influenza. The agency approved the conditional use of ventilation shutdown because traditional depopulation methods did not always kill affected birds quickly enough to control the spread of the virus as effectively as desired. However, since the last time a U.S. flock had been infected with avian influenza was in June 2015, veterinary officials had not yet had the opportunity to implement ventilation shutdown until the Indiana flocks were infected.

Share

Dossier egg production: Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo changing to cage-free eggs

WattAgNet.com. December 2015: Mexican company expects to complete transition globally by 2025. Grupo Bimbo, a leading Mexican and global baking company, and owner of brands like Bimbo, Marinela and Tía Rosa, committed to eliminating battery cages from its liquid and shell egg supply chain and only purchasing cage-free eggs in Mexico and globally. Grupo Bimbo will complete this transition to cage-free eggs in Mexico and globally by 2025.

Rosalío Rodríguez, global senior vice president of operations, Grupo Bimbo announced that the company’s efforts to carry out this transition in favor of animal welfare, adding that “With this commitment, Grupo Bimbo honors its Social Responsibility Model and we believe this action will become a common practice in the future.”

Grupo Bimbo joins dozens of companies that have already committed to eliminating battery cage eggs from their supply chains, including Unilever, Nestlé, General Mills and Starbucks.

Grupo Bimbo has a presence in Mexico, United States, Canada, Latin America, China and the UK.

Humane Society International (HSI), one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations, welcomed Grupo Bimbo’s announcement.

Elissa Lane, deputy director of HSI Farm Animals, said: “Consumers care about the way animals are treated in food production and we are glad to see Bimbo taking these concerns seriously by committing to shifting to a 100 percent cage-free egg supply chain.

Bimbo’s egg policy will improve the lives of countless animals and sends a clear message to the egg industry in Mexico and around the globe that cage-free production systems are the way forward.”

Share

Dossier USA: Broiler production – the next front in the animal welfare debate in the USA

Forune Online, by Beth Kowitt, @bethkowitt, December 7, 2015. Last month Taco Bell became the latest of the major fast-food chains to commit to serving eggs only from cage-free hens. The brand behind Cap’n Crunch doughnut holes and Doritos taco shells was the deciding vote in the animal-rights debate: Cage-free eggs are now the norm.

But while the chickens may have flown the cage, the animal-welfare debate rages on. The next front: “fast growth” broiler chickens. For years the poultry industry has intentionally bred its birds to get bigger faster on less feed. In 1925 the average broiler chicken weighed 2.5 pounds when it went to market at 112 days old. Today the average goes to market after just 48 days at 6.2 pounds—essentially we’ve created giant chickens.

That’s great for efficiency but maybe not so great for chickens. The Humane Society of the U.S. says the practices can inflict broilers with leg disorders, weakened immune systems, and cardiovascular problems.

Some of the biggest food companies—General Mills and Nestlé and food service giants Aramark and Compass Group—have acknowledged that fast-growth poultry is an issue to at least discuss. Companies say they are “working to understand” or “working with [their] suppliers to address” it. Definitive language, no—but it sounds a lot like what companies said in the early days of cage-free eggs.

Share

Ventilation Shutdown

Who takes the responsibility to flip the switch?

On September 18, 2015 the USA Government and the American egg producers announced that they would accept the Ventilation shutdown method as a method of mass destruction of poultry when other options, notably water-based foam and CO2, are not available for culling at the farm within 24-36 hours. This is actually the case on all caged layer farms in the USA, in particular in Iowa.

The Ventilation shutdown method consists of stopping ventilation, cutting off drinking water supply, and turning on heaters to raise the temperature in the poultry house to a level between 38 Celsius and 50 Celsius. Birds die of heat stress and by lack of oxygen in a process that easily takes over after a period of at least 3 days. Ventilation shutdown is a killing method without prior stunning of the birds, and as such is contrary to all international Animal Welfare standards.

Animal welfare specialists in disease control strongly oppose this introduction of the cruelest method of killing poultry that lost their economic value. The Humane Society (HSUS) described it as the “inhumane mass baking of live chickens”. With adequate preparation the alternative methods, like the water-based Anoxia foam method, can be available at each farm for immediate use in case of an outbreak. The ban of the Ventilation shutdown method should therefore be maintained and the Anoxia method should be further developed so that is suitable for application to caged layers and turkeys. In Germany, such a system is currently under development and will become commercially available soon.

The poultry industry in the USA ignores this development and asks for a formal approval of the Ventilation Shutdown method. Speaking on August 19, 2015, during the United Egg Producers (UEP) national briefing webinar, UEP President Chad Gregory explained that much research is being done concerning the feasibility of such a depopulation program.

“The government, the producers, the states and UEP, we all recognize that depopulation is going to have to happen faster and ideally within 24 hours.”

Quick depopulation of affected flocks is important, Gregory said, because the sooner a flock is depopulated, the risk of the virus going into fans and out into the atmosphere becomes smaller. Gregory said ventilation shutdown – if approved – would probably only be used in a worst-case scenario or when all other euthanasia options have been exhausted. Gregory did not elaborate on how to adequately prevent outbreaks and how to promote more animal-friendly methods.

The latest draft of the USDA Foreign Animal Disease Preparation Plan was published on August 25, 2015, and the publication of the Ventilation Shutdown Evidence & Policy on September 18, 2015, effectively created facts on the ground. This was done in a unilateral way, without any political consultation, without informing trade partners, and without a fundamental discussion whether or not the Ventilation Shutdown method should be made acceptable at all.

From a strategic point of view, the US poultry industry created an unprecedented commercial advantage for itself. Their competitors in Europe are responsible for biosecurity and for prevention of risks of infection, based on EU legislation. Each country has to implement a National Emergency Response plan based on Directive EC 1099/2009.
In Germany, public private partnerships called “Tierseuchenkasse” are responsible for the preparation of emergency response to outbreaks like HPAI, and work on an insurance model. The German government, the EU and the industry collectively carry the costs for emergency response activities.

TTIP

This is not the case in the USA. There, USDA APHIS is responsible for response activities and the taxpayer is paying the costs. This is a significant advantage over European producers, and with the TTIP ‘free trade’ negotiations in their final stage, the European poultry industry will be confronted with a significant distortion of trading conditions by this abandonment of animal welfare as a boundary condition in culling operations in the USA.

US egg producers are actively creating facts that will be very difficult to undo, and with the Ventilation Shutdown Method officially accepted by USDA Aphis, the industry effectively avoids to take its responsibility for risks inherent to the type of production with 31.000.000 caged layers, packed on 35 farms, and caged layer farms with an average size of 913.000 caged layers per farm. The consequences will be devastating: all Asian producers, who routinely use cage systems to produce eggs, will follow the example of the USA, just to be able to compete with the American poultry industry.

For the producers within the EU, it will even more difficult to compete with the US poultry producers. The ventilation shutdown method will on the mid- and long term destroy cage free egg production policy in Europe, putting the EU egg production methods as demanded by the European consumers at risk. In case the European industry would not able to produce against compatible prices, the consumers will become completely dependent on eggs produced outside the EU. As the situation is now, TTIP will not allow for mandatory labeling of animal welfare on eggs, so that EU consumers only will have the price as their decision criterion.

Senator Ron Johnson calls emergency response an economic issue; the Foreign Animal Disease Preparedness & Response Plan puts the limit for Stamping-Out on 24 hours; official guidelines introduce the Ventilation Shutdown method as a legitimate culling method in situations described as “where all other euthanasia options have been exhausted’ – the Ventilation Shutdown method in the USA is a fact with disastrous consequences for animal welfare and a new obstacle to TTIP.

Share

Dossier FLI Seminar: Large-scale response leads to further spreading

Before introduction of the ban on conventional battery cages in the EU from January 2012, battery cages were still common in the Netherlands. An evaluation of the statistics of the Dutch outbreak (in total 1.134 culling operations – more than 29 million birds) shows that 79.2% of all the infected/suspected farms H7N7 was reintroduced were labor-intensive layers/parent stock farms; 8,7 % were turkey farms.

This demonstrates that especially during depopulation activities, viruses easily transmit to responders, tasked for taking layers out of their cages, transport them through the narrow walkways between the cages to a disposal container placed outside of the house. Although humans are supposed to be less susceptible, they can become carrier of the virus. Only the highest level of biosecurity could prevent the transmission through the humans and materials that have been in direct contact with infected animals and materials.

New strategies are needed to take away the source of infection during response activities. At the FLI Animal Welfare and Disease Control Seminar, organized at September 23, 2015 in Celle, Germany, a group of international experts will give their vision on how the possible contribution of each transmission route could be determined and how a revolutionary new response strategy could be developed, based on the principle of neutralizing transmission routes. Data analysis of the outbreak in Holland will be discussed, with contributions of top scientist who recently published on the Dutch outbreak, like dr. Guus Koch, dr. Marien Gerritzen, and dr. Elbers.

This international – English-language based – seminar is open for animal welfare specialists, veterinary specialists, and emergency response experts. The event takes place on the premises of FLI; starts at 9 AM; and closes at 4 PM, after the general discussion.

Share

You’re welcome to participate at the International seminar on September 23, 2015

Animal welfare during contagious disease outbreaks: Preventive isolation measures instead of large-scale culling programs?

Although the spring outbreaks of Highly Pathogen Avian Influenza in Europe and North America are finally behind us, the discussions on what caused these outbreaks and why specific parts of the industry were hit so severely are just beginning. In these discussions, the financial impact for the industry has the highest priority and animal welfare seems to be of secondary importance.

It is likely that outbreaks may reappear in the fall months when temperatures begin to drop and wild birds begin to migrate for the winter, causing similar disease issues in coming autumn, jeopardizing the animal welfare rights of poultry again.

To minimize the impact on the poultry industry as well as to minimize the risk that animals need to be culled, it’s important to understand how the initial transmission of HPAI takes place and to analyze the several ways the virus could be transmitted amongst farms. All indicators currently point out into the direction that the industry should prioritize on environmental drivers: the connection between outbreaks and wild ducks; wind-mediated transmission; pre-contact probability; on-farm bio security; transmission via rodents etc.

A revolutionary new – Neutralizing Risks – strategy would be based on applying new response techniques, based on: culling the animals without human – to – animal contact; integrating detergent application into the culling operations; combining culling & disposal into one activity.

During the FLI Animal Welfare and Disease Control Seminar, organized at September 23, 2015 in Celle, Germany, a group of experts will give their vision on how the possible contribution of each transmission route could be determined and how a revolutionary new response strategy could be developed, based on the principle of neutralizing transmission routes.

AVT participates in the seminar, discussing how to implement animal welfare in Standard Operating Procedures during culling of animals. Taking away the source of infection by culling the animals still remains a high priority, as long as it does not violate the other priorities of the strategy.

The recently introduced Anoxia technique, based on submerging poultry in high expansion foam filled with 98% nitrogen, safeguards not only animal welfare during response activities; the technique is also suitable to cull small numbers of birds, as well as large locks of poultry, regardless the housing system.

You are more than welcome to participate in this English-spoken event. You can sign up by replying your name, including the name of your institute/company, to angelika.gaupp@fli.bund.de, or by fax: +49/5141-3846-117.

We wanted this seminar to be accessible for all, and for that reason, the participation fee is € 70 only. Unfortunately, the number of participants is limited, so in case you’re interested, please let us know and respond before August 31, 2015. After you signed up, you will receive your detailed payment instructions.

This international – English-language based – seminar is open for animal welfare specialists, veterinary specialists, and emergency response experts. The event takes place on the premises of FLI; starts at 9 AM; and closes at 4 PM, after the general discussion.

In case you need more information or any assistance, please contact me on: 0046 761 731 779 or by mail on harm.kie@gmail.com.

You are very welcome to pass this invitation to all of your colleagues, who may also be interested in the seminar.

Share