Two trials using broiler chickens were undertaken to determine if variations in commercial slaughter techniques affected either the appearance or the residual blood content of the carcases produced. In the first trial groups of broilers were either stunned (55, 80 or 105 volts), electrocuted (240 volts) or anaesthetised and the subsequent bleed-out volumes after one, two, three and four minutes exsanguination were measured. The method of slaughter made no difference to the amount of blood lost after venesection. Haemoglobin content of the pectoral muscle was used to measure residual blood and was uniformly low in all groups (0.7 to 0.16 mg haemoglobin/g of muscle). In the second trial groups of chickens were either stunned and bled out, electrocuted, electrocuted and bled out, decapitated or halal killed before processing. The edible portions of the carcases were minced and the average haemoglobin content for each group was 0.19, 0.36, 0.22, 0.17 and 0.17 mg/g of soft tissue. The appearance of chickens that were stunned and bled out was the same as that of chickens that were electrocuted and bled out. The authors conclude that killing chickens by electrocution before exsanguination does not adversely affect the carcase appearance. Furthermore, electrocution ensures that broiler chickens are humanely slaughtered.
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