[Observations during captive bolt stunning of rabbits]

Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 1992 Jan 1;105(1):10-5.
[Article in German]


78 rabbits of mixed breed and about 3 kg live weight were stunned before slaughter with a commercial spring operated captive bolt apparatus designed for rabbits and water fowl. The following reaction patterns were observed: 1.) Immediate onset of tonic spasm, followed by weak to heavy clonic spasms and/or subsequent relaxation; irreversible loss of corneal reflex and cessation of respiration: effective and irreversible stun tantamount to killing 2.) Same reaction as before except that respiration restarted after 1/2 to 2 min: effective but only temporary stun 3.) Similar reaction as before, but respiration maintained: insufficient stun 4.) Immediate onset of weak tonic spasm; respiration and corneal reflex maintained: insufficient stun. According to this classification 56 rabbits (72%) were killed outright and 18 (23%) temporarily stunned while in 4 (5%) the stun was ineffective. The captive bolt apparatus proved thus to be principally suited for the stunning resp. killing of slaughter rabbits. The best stunning results were obtained with shots into the parietal bone near the sagittal line but not hitting the bone sutures. To achieve this the apparatus has to be placed slightly paramedian on the front as close to the ears as possible. Insufficient stunning results could be blamed on deviating shooting positions. To avoid misses a good fixation of the animal including its head is necessary. Correct application provided the use of penetrating concussion stunners should be preferred to applying a blow to the neck for stunning rabbits.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Abattoirs*
  • Animal Welfare*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Male
  • Rabbits / physiology*