A perspective on the electrical stunning of animals: Are there lessons to be learned from human electro-convulsive therapy (ECT)?

Ari Z. Zivotofsky, Rael D. Strous

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Animals have been slaughtered by humans since time immemorial. Over the last few generations attention has been focused on minimizing the animal's pain and suffering during slaughter. Based on the assumption that loss of consciousness due to electrical stunning combined with exsanguination is a humane technique of slaughter, this procedure has become one of the most widely employed methods in commercial meat production, being used in almost all species. In recent years, some shortcomings with this method of minimizing the animal's suffering have been noted. Electrical stunning is probably more akin to human electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) than to epilepsy, and some of the negative aspects of unmodified ECT may be present during electrical stunning, further questioning the use of electrical stunning in the slaughter of animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)956-961
Number of pages6
JournalMeat Science
Volume90
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2012

Keywords

  • Animal welfare
  • Slaughter
  • Stunning

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