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Wotton SSB, Zhang X, McKinstry JJL, Velarde A, Knowles TG.2014. The effect of the required current/frequency combinations (EC 1099/2009) on the incidence of cardiac arrest in broilers stunned and slaughtered for the halal market. PeerJ PrePrints2:e255v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.255v1
Multi-bird water bath stunning is the only method permitted for stunning broilers in halal plants in the UK. The electrocardiogram (ECG) was measured in broilers that were stunned electrically in a commercial water bath using four of the frequency/current parameters permitted under EU Regulation (1099/2009) plus a control treatment (pulsed DC waveform). The results showed that there were no differences between the treatments in that all the birds displayed a rhythmic heart beat following stunning and before slaughter. An opportunity to observe recovery in a small number of broilers (nine) in a Spanish processing plant suggested that AC at 1000 Hz applied at 200 mA per bird would also meet both the legislative requirements and the needs of the halal market, in that all birds recovered from the stun.
The latest legislation on the welfare of animals at the time of killing (EC Regulation 1099/2009) specifies minimum current/frequency combinations for the water bath stunning of poultry that are higher than those previously applied to broilers. These electrical parameters also require an AC rather than pulsed DC supply. Consequently there has been some concern from the Halal Certification Bodies about the effect of stunning on the incidence bird death prior to slaughter. This research demonstrates that the legislative parameters applied do not affect heart function and that in a separate recovery trial, 200 mA applied at 1000 Hz AC will enable broilers to recover and thus meets the requirement of many Halal Certification Bodies for birds to be alive when slaughtered.