Only one abattoir used specific lairage cages which required transfer of animals from one cage used for transport to another in the lairage. Process of slaughtering to which it applies: captive bolt stunning (PCB or NPCB). The depth of penetration is another crucial factor and it should be deep enough to impart forces to the brain stem, since this is where the vital functions, such as breathing and cardiovascular activity, are regulated (Laureys, 2005). No preventive measure exists, except avoid shackling conscious animals. However, when monitoring the effectiveness of stunning, it is common to look for indicators of ‘consciousness’, instead of ‘unconsciousness’. no protection from the environment (e.g. For example, containers used for transporting rabbits, forklift used for unloading, ventilation system in lairage, stunning devices and associated calibrating and monitoring systems or knives used for slaughtering rabbits. Similarly, it suggests indicators to confirm animals are dead before dressing. Description: Design, construction and routine maintenance of slaughterhouse facilities and equipment is important to ensuring good welfare (European Commission, 2017). An example is reported in Table 2, concerning the hazard ‘too high effective temperature’ during the phase ‘arrival’. Moreover, excessive fear may cause serious trauma and injuries during handling when animals struggle and are difficult to be handled. The ease of use is expressed by different colours (green = easy, orange = moderate, red = difficult). As death cannot be guaranteed after penetrative captive bolt, it must always be followed by bleeding as soon as possible severing both carotid arteries (Schütt‐Abraham et al., 1992a). completeness of hazard origins, preventive and corrective measures on the one side and welfare consequences and indicators on the other side). (1986), rabbits can no longer regulate their internal temperature above 35°C and heat prostration sets in, while at 40°C, considerable panting and salivation occurred. Uncertainty in this context mainly relates to the possibility of i) incomplete listing of hazards, namely some welfare‐related hazards may be missing in the identification process as considered not existing or not relevant (false negative); and ii) hazard not relevant for the welfare of rabbits at slaughter being included in the outcome tables (false positive). By contrast, a bolt with a very small mass and a very high velocity, will result in perforation of the skull without significant damages to the brain. In addition, rabbits with water restrictions eat little and their growth is impaired (Prud'Hon et al., 1975). When the effective temperature is too low, the thermoregulatory capacity of the rabbits for homoeothermy is exceeded. Animals reared in different farming systems (Cage vs Park pen) may react differently during handling, restraint and stunning. When discussing these categories, it was agreed that the ‘origin’ can be explained further by detailing what actions from the staff or features from equipment and facilities can cause the hazard. If rabbits are kept in close proximity of each other, this does not necessarily mean that they are overstocked and suffer from stress. To define indicators of animal welfare, including animal‐based measures to assess the state of consciousness, To identify suitable and unacceptable methods for stunning and killing rabbits, based on welfare grounds, EP: Include the indication of the most suitable method for stunning and killing of rabbits, EC: the opinion should include unacceptable methods, procedures or practices on welfare grounds. In other words, traumatic brain injury alone is not sufficient on animal welfare grounds. What is the proper humane way to slaughter and gut a bunny rabbit for consumption? Regarding the possible inclusion of false‐positive hazards, the experts were 95–99% certain that all listed hazards exist during the slaughter of rabbits. Detailed and supporting background information are included in the main chapters of this opinion. This can result from: a) an incorrect placement of the electrodes that do not span the brain, b) an intermittent contact, c) the use of dirty/worn electrode(s). ‘inappropriate electrical parameters’, see hazards during Phase 2, Section 3.6.2). ‘Management’ measures mean decisions to be made or resources to be put in place by personnel with responsibility or legal obligation for animal welfare. Also, vocalisation and spontaneous blinking can be included. Description: Mental or physiological suffering due to increased CO2 levels or to lack of O2 resulting in forced breathing, breathlessness or air hunger. Unloading is the action of taking out the containers (or crates) with the rabbits from the truck and place them in the lairage area. Electrical methods include head‐only stunning. To reduce welfare risks due to poor stunning, it is important to assess the state of consciousness in order to detect the animals that are not properly stunned or recover consciousness after stunning. Effective coordination should minimise waiting time upon arrival of the animals and keep lairage duration to the minimum (European Commission, 2017). Second, death due to sticking is not immediate and there is a period of time during which the animal is still conscious and can feel fear, distress, pain and other types of suffering (EFSA AHAW Panel, 2013c–f). Similarly, uncertainty exists related to the possibility of incomplete or misclassified listing of hazard origins, preventive, corrective measures, welfare consequences and indicators, but owing to the limited time available to develop this scientific opinion, there is not an uncertainty analysis of this. There are no published sound scientific data on how neck cutting is performed or the associated welfare consequences, in particular regarding the times to loss of consciousness or onset of death. Mitigation measures: respiratory distress is inherent to the stunning method. Processes of slaughtering to which it applies: restraint after ineffective head‐only electrical and mechanical stunning and inappropriate monitoring of consciousness and bleeding during slaughter without stunning. If food deprivation continues, the lower blood glucose levels activate sympatho‐adreno‐medullary system, which stimulates the lipolysis and the triglycerides stored in fat are released into the blood circulation as free fatty acids (FFAs). When rabbits are slaughtered without stunning all the rabbits will experience the welfare consequences related to the hazards they are subjected to. ethical and socio‐economic considerations that need to be weighed by the risk managers. Tonic–clonic seizures: Unconscious animals show tonic–clonic seizures. On the other hand, Llonch et al. An indicator for slaughter with prior stunning is considered to be 100 % sensitive if it detects all the conscious animals as conscious; an indicator is considered to be 100 % specific if it detects all the unconscious animals as unconscious. In addition, in some cases, specific evidence has been retrieved in the literature supporting the ’origin specification’ identification and reported in the current section. The hazard ‘rough handling of the containers’ can appear at this stage and lead to pain and fear. All of this is done while the rabbit is still unconscious. Their results also suggested that, when the temperature changes according to circadian cycles, animals are able to predict the increment of temperature, and they increase some important activities (e.g. Their reliability is critical to ensure that progress to a subsequent step in the process is required. Estimates for sensitivity, ease of use and associated uncertainties can be found in Tables. Sheffield method: it is designed to elicit the knowledge of a group of experts in a face‐to‐face elicitation workshop, with the result being a distribution representing the aggregated judgements of the experts. It is worth mentioning that righting reflex may not be manifested in key stage 1 when the animal is under manual restraint. The fur on the rabbit's head may impede with the efficacy of electrical stunning due to high electrical resistance. ‘Staff’ contribute to most of the hazards. ensuring that all four major EU rabbit producers are represented). Indicators for the state of consciousness. This latter effect may be strengthened by increased intracranial pressure due to haemorrhage. Welfare consequences and relevant animal‐based measures (indicators) are described. (1998) showed that variations in impedance (resistance) of the rabbits’ heads were considerable, due to their fur, and ranged from 300 Ω to more than 1,500 Ω. Owing to this, the amount of current delivered to rabbits also varied within treatment groups, ranging from 92–120 mA at 50 V, to 138–211 mA at 75 V, and 154–279 mA at 100 V. The authors recommended stunning rabbits with 100 V of a 50 Hz sine wave alternating current (AC) for one‐second in order to deliver an average current of 140 mA. In particular, those indicator outcomes which rely on the animal spontaneously manifesting certain behaviours (e.g. It is caused for example by: low air line pressure, low cartridge power, low bolt velocity, shallow penetration and faulty equipment (too narrow bolt diameter). In the first 4–6 h, weight loss in rabbits is mainly due to emptying of the gut (Lambertini et al., 2006). For each of the toolboxes, the outcome of the indicator assessment can either be that the next step in the process can be taken (green boxes) or that an appropriate intervention should be applied before proceeding (red boxes). However, due to the complexity of slaughtering and the limited access to animals in some of the phases (e.g. Initially, there is an enthusiasm for food, but as time progresses hunger changes to gnawing emptiness whilst feeling weak, lethargic and more sensitive to cold. For the welfare consequences in Phase 1 (pre‐stunning), several indicators to assess the welfare of rabbits have been reported (EFSA, 2005; de Jong et al., 2011). Commercial practices vary from unloading of animals and moving them straight to the point of stunning without lairage to holding them in lairage for some time. Operator rotation to avoid fatigue. (2016) was 120 s’. If you see a rabbit screaming in a video, you can be sure that they are not using a fast, humane method. During the first 10–12 postnatal days, the kits have only a limited capacity for independent thermoregulation, and they huddle together covering themselves with the nest material by crawling under it (Hudson and Distel, 1982; Bautista et al., 2008). Veterinary inspections took place at that stage in all the 21 abattoirs included in the study. When lorries are full of rabbits, the ventilation inside tends to be poor so rabbits on the inside of a load may suffer hyperthermia. 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