Scientific Opinion on electrical requirements for poultry waterbath stunning equipment
The European Commission (EC) requested that the EFSA Panel on Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW Panel) delivers a scientific opinion on a study that proposes parameters for poultry electrical waterbath stunning different to those laid down in Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. The submitted study reports upon the use (mean + SD) of a current of 104.00 ± 3.88 mA, a voltage of 125.86 ± 3.28 V and a frequency of 589.78 ± 0.63 Hz using a square wave in alternating current (AC) with a 50 % duty cycle. These conditions were applied for 15 seconds to chickens under laboratory and slaughterhouse conditions. The submitted study was peer-reviewed by the AHAW Panel in the manner detailed in its ‘Guidance on the assessment criteria for studies evaluating the effectiveness of stunning intervention regarding animal protection at the time of killing’. The methodology and the data reported do not provide conclusive evidence that the combination of the proposed electrical frequency and current induced unconsciousness without exposing the chickens to avoidable pain and suffering. Further, some chickens did not remain unconscious for a sufficient time to prevent avoidable pain and suffering during slaughter. Because the information provided in the study was incomplete and insufficient, it did not pass the eligibility phase of the assessment. In the context of Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, and current scientific evidence, a frequency of 600 Hz with a current of 104 mA does not result in efficient stunning of poultry. Therefore, additional research into these stunning parameters is not recommended.