The development and practical implementation of Single Pulse Ultra-High Current for humane and Halal compliant slaughter of cattle

  • Awal Fuseini

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


This thesis reports the development of a new system of head-only electrical stunning system, Single Pulse Ultra-High Current (SPUC) for the humane slaughter of cattle. Optimum electrical parameters for the development and construction of the SPUC Stunner were identified through a number of in vitro experiments. First, the electric fields in the head and brain were measured by applying voltage from a 250 V, 50 Hz power source with an isolated (from earth) output through two large needle electrodes, via the nose and neck. The electric field in the head was found to be 3.3 Vcm -1 and 1.3 Vcm -1 in the brain. Secondly, neural membranes were electroporated using a Gene Pulser Xcell electroporation system (Bio-Rad, USA) to determine the effect of energy on the electroporation of brain cells. The results showed that energy was the main factor influencing electroporation of neural membranes.
To date a prototype SPUC stunner has been produced. Using dummy loads, the stunner has been demonstrated to produce the target range of voltage and current. It is undergoing further design and development to better avoid arcing and to provide additional protection for the high voltage switch.
The work for this PhD also included an investigation into the knowledge, views and acceptability of stunning at the time of Halal slaughter across a range of stakeholders as an important precursor for the design and introduction of the SPUC device into full commercial use. A survey of 314 Halal consumers and 66 Islamic scholars in the UK showed that 95% of Islamic scholars and 53% of Halal consumers would accept meat from stunned animals if the method of stunning did not cause the death of animals prior to exsanguination. In a separate study to evaluate veterinary students’ perception about Halal slaughter, the majority (95.2%) of the 459 respondents indicated that they would want all animals to be stunned prior to slaughter, including Halal slaughter.
Date of Award28 Nov 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorToby G Knowles (Supervisor) & Andrew Grist (Supervisor)

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