Stunning

stunnedelectrical stunningstuncaptive bolt stunningelectric stunningmethods usedstun gunsstunsunstunned
For the band, see The Stunning; for other uses, see Stunning (disambiguation)wikipedia
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Animal slaughter

slaughterslaughteredslaughtering
Stunning is the process of rendering animals immobile or unconscious, with or without killing the animal, when or immediately prior to slaughtering them for food.
This made the mechanical stunning of cows and electrical stunning of pigs compulsory, with the exception of Jewish and Muslim meat.

Shechita

shochetkosher slaughterritual slaughterer
This made the mechanical stunning of cows and electrical stunning of pigs compulsory, with the exception of Jewish and Muslim meat.
The animal may not be stunned prior to the procedure, as is common practice in non-kosher modern animal slaughter since the early twentieth century.

Humane Slaughter Association

Council of Justice to Animals
In 1911, the Council of Justice to Animals (later the Humane Slaughter Association) was created to improve the slaughter of livestock and address the killing of unwanted pets.
In the early 1920s, HSA introduced and demonstrated a mechanical stunner, which led to the adoption of humane stunning "by 28 London boroughs and later by 494 other local authorities."

Captive bolt pistol

bolt guncaptive boltcaptive bolt gun
Modern methods, such as the captive bolt pistol and electric tongs were required and the Act's wording specifically outlawed the poleaxe.
A captive bolt pistol or gun (also variously known as a cattle gun, stunbolt gun, bolt gun, or stunner) is a device used for stunning animals prior to slaughter.

Dhabihah

halaldhabihadhabīḥah
This made the mechanical stunning of cows and electrical stunning of pigs compulsory, with the exception of Jewish and Muslim meat.
According to the British Halal Food Authority, stunning is permissible.

Humane Slaughter Act

humaneHumane Methods of Livestock SlaughterHumane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act
However, prior to humane slaughter pistols and electric stunners, pigs, sheep and other animals (including cattle) were simply struck while fully conscious.
The bovine would have a device placed on their head that, once activated, sends an electric charge that efficiently and safely stuns them.

European Union

EUEuropeanEurope
Within the European Union, most animals slaughtered for human consumption are killed by cutting major blood vessels in the neck or thorax so that rapid blood loss occurs.

Blood vessel

vascularblood vesselsintravascular
Within the European Union, most animals slaughtered for human consumption are killed by cutting major blood vessels in the neck or thorax so that rapid blood loss occurs.

Neck

cervicalnuchalcervical region
Within the European Union, most animals slaughtered for human consumption are killed by cutting major blood vessels in the neck or thorax so that rapid blood loss occurs.

Thorax

chestthoracicpectoral
Within the European Union, most animals slaughtered for human consumption are killed by cutting major blood vessels in the neck or thorax so that rapid blood loss occurs.

Death

mortalitydeaddeceased
After a certain degree of blood loss has occurred, the animal will become unconscious, and after a greater blood loss death will ensue.

Pain

physical painacute painnociceptive pain
From the moment of cutting until the loss of consciousness, the animal can experience pain, stress and fear.

Stress (biology)

stressenvironmental stressstresses
From the moment of cutting until the loss of consciousness, the animal can experience pain, stress and fear.

Fear

terrorapprehensionfears
From the moment of cutting until the loss of consciousness, the animal can experience pain, stress and fear.

Brain

brain functionmammalian braincerebral
Without stunning, the time between cutting through the major blood vessels and insensibility, as deduced from behavioural and brain response, is up to 20 seconds in sheep, up to 25 seconds in pigs, up to 2 minutes in cattle, up to 2.5 or more minutes in poultry, and sometimes 15 minutes or more in fish. Electrical stunning is done by sending an electric current through the brain and/or heart of the animal before slaughter.

Sheep

ramlambdomestic sheep
However, prior to humane slaughter pistols and electric stunners, pigs, sheep and other animals (including cattle) were simply struck while fully conscious. Without stunning, the time between cutting through the major blood vessels and insensibility, as deduced from behavioural and brain response, is up to 20 seconds in sheep, up to 25 seconds in pigs, up to 2 minutes in cattle, up to 2.5 or more minutes in poultry, and sometimes 15 minutes or more in fish.

Pig

pigsSuswild pig
However, prior to humane slaughter pistols and electric stunners, pigs, sheep and other animals (including cattle) were simply struck while fully conscious. Without stunning, the time between cutting through the major blood vessels and insensibility, as deduced from behavioural and brain response, is up to 20 seconds in sheep, up to 25 seconds in pigs, up to 2 minutes in cattle, up to 2.5 or more minutes in poultry, and sometimes 15 minutes or more in fish.

Cattle

cowscowsteer
Without stunning, the time between cutting through the major blood vessels and insensibility, as deduced from behavioural and brain response, is up to 20 seconds in sheep, up to 25 seconds in pigs, up to 2 minutes in cattle, up to 2.5 or more minutes in poultry, and sometimes 15 minutes or more in fish. A primitive form of stunning was used in premodern times in the case of cattle, which were poleaxed prior to being bled out.

Poultry

drumstickdomestic fowlpoultry meat
Without stunning, the time between cutting through the major blood vessels and insensibility, as deduced from behavioural and brain response, is up to 20 seconds in sheep, up to 25 seconds in pigs, up to 2 minutes in cattle, up to 2.5 or more minutes in poultry, and sometimes 15 minutes or more in fish.

Fish

fishesfinfishmarine fish
Without stunning, the time between cutting through the major blood vessels and insensibility, as deduced from behavioural and brain response, is up to 20 seconds in sheep, up to 25 seconds in pigs, up to 2 minutes in cattle, up to 2.5 or more minutes in poultry, and sometimes 15 minutes or more in fish.

Benjamin Ward Richardson

Dr B. W. Richardson
One of the first campaigners on the matter was the eminent physician, Benjamin Ward Richardson, who spent many years of his later working life developing more humane methods of slaughter.

University of Westminster

Regent Street PolytechnicPolytechnic of Central LondonWestminster University
He even experimented with the use of electric current at the Royal Polytechnic Institution.

Pollaxe

poleaxepole-axePole Axe
Modern methods, such as the captive bolt pistol and electric tongs were required and the Act's wording specifically outlawed the poleaxe. A primitive form of stunning was used in premodern times in the case of cattle, which were poleaxed prior to being bled out.

Heart

cardiachuman heartapex of the heart
Electrical stunning is done by sending an electric current through the brain and/or heart of the animal before slaughter.

Convulsion

convulsionsconvulsiveconvulsing
Current passing through the brain induces an immediate but non-fatal general convulsion that produces unconsciousness.