The forces and kinetic energy required to penetrate the isolated heads of calves, adult beef cattle, sheep and red deer with a metal probe the same diameter as the bore of an experimental pistol were determined. Approximately 16 and 127 Joules were required to penetrate the heads of adult sheep and cattle, respectively. Using these data a 10 g projectile, consisting of 49 lead pellets and a lead disc in a polyethylene sleeve, was constructed. This projectile, when fired by a charge sufficient to produce a muzzle velocity of 165 m/second, had sufficient kinetic energy to penetrate the heads and brains of cattle, sheep, horses and deer. The projectile was fired from a new design of humane killer with a spring loaded barrel and fitted with a silencer. After penetration of the frontal bones the projectile fragmented and the kinetic energy of its individual particles were insufficient for them to penetrate the opposite side of the head of any of the animals, including one-week-old calves. Fragmentation also caused more brain damage and inhibition of spinal reflexes than a solid free bullet or captive bolt. It is suggested that the use of such a projectile for the emergency slaughter of animals is less hazardous than a solid free bullet and is easier to use and more effective than either a solid free bullet or captive bolt. The projectile was not suitable for killing adult pigs because of problems associated with the frontal sinus.
- British Veterinary Association. All rights reserved.
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