14 May 1999

HSA says poultry killers Godsend for producers

SMALL numbers of poultry can be killed more humanely using new equipment developed by Bristol University and on show at this weeks Pig and Poultry Fair.

The two prototypes on the Humane Slaughter Associations stand at the Stoneleigh, Warks, fair are designed to apply a powerful blow to the birds head, killing it outright, and can be used for chickens or turkeys.

The first prototype, a pneumatic device, is intended for use as a back up to the electrical stunner in processing plants. The second, for dispatching casualty birds on farm, is cartridge powered.

Speaking at the fair, the HSAs Jill Metheringham said she hoped the equipment would replace manual techniques such as neck dislocation.

"This is an extremely important development for all those who keep poultry. In the past there was no equipment available that we could recommend for dispatching small numbers of birds. The equipment will be a Godsend for producers of larger birds such as turkeys which are notoriously difficult to kill on farm. Producers with thousands of birds who may have to carry a bird to the end of a long shed to dispatch it will welcome the device."

Visitors to the HSAs stand were asked for their opinion of the equipment, including its weight, shape and how much they would be willing to pay for it. &#42