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International Journal of Pharmacology
  Year: 2012 | Volume: 8 | Issue: 3 | Page No.: 141-151
DOI: 10.3923/ijp.2012.141.151
 
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Stunning Swine with CO2 Gas: Controversies Related to Animal Welfare

Daniel Mota-Rojas, Dan Bolanos-Lopez, Maria Concepcion-Mendez, Jorge Ramirez-Telles, Patricia Roldan-Santiago, Salvador Flores-Peinado and Patricia Mora-Medina

Abstract:
The principal objective of this review is to characterize the physiological and biochemical events that occur in swine when stunned with carbon dioxide (CO2) prior to slaughtering, as they relate to issues of animal welfare. Stress responses promote the maintenance of homeostasis and adaptation to the physiological and psychosocial challenges of a changing environment, a complex process that involves the coordinated activation of behavioural, autonomic and neuroendocrine reactions. When respired, CO2 combines with water to form H2CO3 (carbonic acid), which generates elevated concentrations of H+ ions that result in a state of acidosis at the cellular level. Today, questions have been raised concerning animal welfare, as some fear that inhaling high concentrations of CO2 may cause distress in animals before they lapse into a state of unconsciousness. In particular, the bodily movements observed in the early phase of CO2-induced anaesthesia in swine have led to concerns about stress. Pigs exposed to 80% CO2 for 60 sec experience lactic academia and respiratory and metabolic acidosis. Lactate levels are an indicator of stress, while it has been shown that blood lactate concentrations associated with pre-slaughter stress factors (e.g., aggressive handling immediately prior to stunning) have detrimental effects on pork quality. From the perspective of animal welfare, 90% argon by volume, or the lowest possible CO2 concentration necessary to stun swine, is recommended. Argon is suggested as a welfare-friendly alternative to carbon dioxide for stunning/killing pigs and poultry.
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How to cite this article:

Daniel Mota-Rojas, Dan Bolanos-Lopez, Maria Concepcion-Mendez, Jorge Ramirez-Telles, Patricia Roldan-Santiago, Salvador Flores-Peinado and Patricia Mora-Medina, 2012. Stunning Swine with CO2 Gas: Controversies Related to Animal Welfare. International Journal of Pharmacology, 8: 141-151.

DOI: 10.3923/ijp.2012.141.151

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=ijp.2012.141.151

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