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Commercial slaughter methods used on Atlantic salmon: determination of the onset of brain failure by electroencephalography
  1. D. H. F. Robb, BSc, PhD1,
  2. S. B. Wotton1,
  3. J. L. McKinstry, HNC1,
  4. N. K. Sørensen, MSc1,
  5. S. C. Kestin, BSc1 and
  6. N. K. Sørensen, MSc2
  1. 1 Division of Food Animal Science, University of Bristol, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU
  2. 2 Fiskeriforskning, N-9005 Tromsø, Norway


This study investigated the effect of exsanguination without prior stunning, or carbon dioxide narcosis followed by exsanguination, or percussive stunning or spiking the brain, on the time taken to abolish the visual evoked responses (VERS) of farmed Atlantic salmon. Only percussive stunning and spiking killed the fish immediately and the other two methods resulted in aversive reactions by the fish. The VERS were lost between 148 and 440 seconds after exsanguination without stunning, and between 300 and 554 seconds after carbon dioxide narcosis followed by exsanguination. During both these procedures the fish showed strong aversive behaviour. In contrast, percussive stunning and spiking the brain could result in the immediate loss of VERS and no aversive reactions from the fish if the stun was applied correctly.

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