2024 journal article

Efficacy of a novel cervical dislocation tool for humane euthanasia of broilers and broiler breeders


author keywords: broiler breeder; broiler; euthanasia; cervical dislocation; animal welfare
Source: Web Of Science
Added: March 25, 2024

Euthanasia is an essential task performed daily on commercial poultry farms around the world to safeguard animal welfare. Manual cervical dislocation (MCD) is the most common euthanasia method but can be challenging to perform given the physical strength required to implement this technique. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a novel cervical dislocation tool (NCDT) compared to MCD. A total of 60 Ross 308 chickens (6-wk old) and 60 Ross 706 parent stock breeders (21-wk old) were enrolled in the study. Birds were sexed, blocked by body weight, and allocated to 1 of 2 treatments: 1) MCD and 2) NCDT. Immediately following euthanasia application, insensibility, and death were monitored. Once death was confirmed, gross evaluation, radiograph, and macroscopic/microscopic scoring were performed. Both euthanasia methods were 100% effective in achieving insensibility followed by cardiac and respiratory arrest in both age groups. In 6-wk-old broilers, there were no differences in insensibility measures or location and severity of the dislocation site by treatment. The NCDT treatment group showed an increased frequency of fractures located at the tooth-like process that projects from the cranial aspect of the centrum of the axis (dens) but had no impact on bird insensibility. For parent stock, differences in nictitating membrane reflex (NMR) and laceration scores for birds euthanized with NCDT were found and likely associated with additional force exerted with the tool. The NCDT is a promising replacement for MCD and future work should address the development of free and accessible training materials for on-farm use.