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  • 1 Fejér County Agricultural Office Food-chain Safety and Animal Health Directorate Csíkvári u. 15 H-8000 Székesfehérvár Hungary
  • | 2 Szent István University Department of Biomathematics and Informatics Budapest Hungary
  • | 3 Szent István University Department of Animal Hygiene, Herd Health and Veterinary Ethology, Faculty of Veterinary Science Budapest Hungary
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The European Food Safety Authority recommends a minimum current of 1.3 Amps for the electrical head-only stunning of pigs. However, it is stated as well that ‘the technical reference data for head-only electrical stunning of pigs such as 1.3 Amps are either rather old or worked out under experimental laboratory conditions’. This study was carried out to verify the electrical parameters of pig stunning under commercial conditions. Altogether 145 fattener pigs (body weight range: 30–150 kg, median 109 kg) were tested at four different private slaughterhouses in Hungary where head-only electrical stunners were used with different constant voltage settings. In each case the following data were recorded: individual liveweight (kg), current (A) and voltage (V) (measured with an individually developed analogue device placed in the circuit), current duration (s), effectiveness of stunning, grading of carcass. Correlations between these parameters and effectiveness were examined. Besides that, any correlation between the test parameters and impedance of head was examined. In 128 out of the 145 cases the stunning was effective (88.3%). Effectiveness was significantly related to current but not to other parameters such as voltage and duration of load. Impedance of head was not correlated with the size of the animal and the meat grading scores. Generally, it was concluded that the use of a single electrical parameter (e.g. a minimum current of 1.3 A) as a prerequisite of good stunning is not ideal.

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