The research was led by Dr. Dorothy McKeegan, BVA Animal Welfare Foundation senior lecturer, Institute for Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences, University of Glasgow; and Dr. Ing. M.A. Gerritzen, scientific researcher animal welfare, Wageningen UR Livestock Research, Lelystad, The Netherlands.
By using electroencephalogram (EEG) and electrocardiogram (ECG), high quality physiological measurements of responses of broiler chickens during exposure to LAPS were determined.
“Collectively, the results of this trial suggest that the Low Atmospheric Pressure Stunning method is promising and has the potential to improve the welfare of poultry at slaughter,” the researchers said. “The EEG data provide strong evidence that loss of consciousness is gradually induced by LAPS and has been achieved before clonic convulsions [wing flapping] take place. The lack of behavioral responses, indicating aversion or escape, and absence of heart rate elevation in the conscious period strongly suggest that birds do not find LAPS induction distressing.”
This research supports an endorsement made last October by the American Humane Association that the LAPS method of controlled-atmosphere stunning for poultry was a humane practice.