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An alternative method for stunning broilers has proved to be effective while still delivering welfare outcomes similar to the most common and humane processes used in commercial processing plants.
Working with other researchers in Scotland and at the University of Arkansas, Jessica Martin of Edinburgh University has been investigating the behaviour and physiology of broilers subjected to Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning (LAPS) as an alternative to Controlled Atmosphere Stunning (CAS).
In Dr Martin’s experiments, birds showed a consistent pattern in behaviour under LAPS, starting with reduced coordination and progressing through loss of posture and convulsions to motionlessness. All died within two minutes of the LAPS treatment and were motionless one minute later.
LAPS involves the gradual decompression of atmosphere in the stunning chamber over four minutes, while CAS systems replace oxygen with other gases to induce irreversible stunning in birds. One of the advantages of LAPS is that it does not involve the need to continue buying gas.¡