Stunning

Two types of electrical stunning, the preferred method for sheep, have been developed: head only and head to body. Head-only stunning, which meets halal slaughter requirements, results in an initially still animal that starts to produce a paddling or running movement even after the throat has been cut. Such movement can be reduced by passing an electric current through the carcass, preferably by using rubbing electrodes after shackling. A head-to-body stun results in cardiac arrest, and the current through the body reduces subsequent movement. Both types of stunning have been easily adapted for automation.

All automatic sheep stunners developed to date have used a "V" restrainer system for controlling the location of the animal throughout the operation. The first automatic stunner for sheep and lambs evolved from a unit developed in Europe for pigs. This unit was then modified for sheep by New Zealand researchers. MIRINZ developed an automatic stunner that used a single "V" restrainer. With this system, each sheep is brought to a position where its head is adjacent to two grids of nozzle electrodes. Once the animal is in place, the two grids move inward until they contact each side of the animal's head. The nozzle electrodes then simultaneously administer electrical current to the head and emit water, which assists passage of current (Fig. 1). The design of this stunning system was improved by New Zealand's Alliance Freezing Company to cope with

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Technology Development Group, HortResearch Hamilton, New Zealand

B. B. Chrystall

Massey University, Albany Campus

Auckland, New Zealand

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