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The Use of a Mechanical Non-Penetrating Captive Bolt Device for the Euthanasia of Neonate Lambs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number49
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Early online date2 Apr 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 30 Mar 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 2 Apr 2018
DatePublished (current) - Apr 2018


Abstract: A non-penetrating captive bolt device, powered by a 1-grain 0.22” cartridge delivering a calculated kinetic energy of 47 Joules was tested as a euthanasia method on 200 neonate lambs (Ovis aries) of 4.464 kg (SD (Standard deviation) 1.056) mean dead weight, to assess effectiveness and shot position. Every lamb (n = 200) was effectively stunned when the weapon was applied powered by a brown, 1-grain cartridge but 10/200 (5%) of the lambs displayed rhythmic or agonal breathing and were subsequently euthanased using euthatal (Merial, UK, GTIN: 03661103015550). Evaluation of the method was conducted using behavioural indicators of brain dysfunction followed by post-mortem examination of the heads. A second trial was conducted using a higher velocity 1.25-grain cartridge and a specific shot position on 48 lambs (mean dead weight = 6.21 kg, SD 1.24) averaging 5 days old. One hundred percent of the lambs in the second trial were immediately stun-killed. Given this complete kill rate and the sample size of the study, the study provides a statistical 95% confidence interval of 92.6% to 100%. The use of the Accles & Shelvoke “CASH” Small Animal Tool (Birmingham, UK) can therefore be recommended for the euthanasia of neonate lambs with a 1.25-grain cartridge and a specific shooting position.

    Research areas

  • animal welfare, euthanasia, livestock, mechanical killing, on-farm killing, neonate lamb

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