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Alternative stunning technology research (pre 2010)


The Alternative Stunning Research (ASR) Program investigated innovative technologies for  pre-slaughter stunning while reducing the cost to the processor and at the same time enhancing market access and community acceptability. Two technologies were identified as being potentially beneficial to the Australian Meat industry.  One involved the commercial application of an existing technology, High Frequency Electrical (HFE) stunning; the other the proof and possible commercialisation of a new technology, Single Pulse Ultra-high Current (SPUC) stunning.

The strategy was to gain community, welfare and regulatory acceptance for the technologies that were being developed and trial them at participating processors. Input was also obtained from potential commercialisers of these new technologies.

Program Outcomes to Date

Equipment was constructed and trials at the laboratory level were conducted in Australia and New Zealand. Slaughter floor trials were conducted in 14 establishments. Industry awareness and training has was conducted in partnership with MINTRAC and the Commonwaelth department of Agriculture (AQIS). Ethical and regulatory acceptance was negotiated in several jurisdictions. The program expended $2.25 million to the end of December 2008. Trial work with cattle and sheep demonstrated that High Frequency Electrical (HFE) stunning and Single Pulse Ultra-high Current (SPUC) stunning are fully reversible, compatible with animal welfare regulations and offered significant advantages in the control of post-stun movement.

The major issue faced by this research program was the need for consistent access to processing plants to conduct the necessary trial work. Progress was hampered by the repeated need to find new processing sites for the experimental work. This remained a significant hurdle and cost to the program.

Recommendations for future work

The work that has been done as part of this program produced some very encouraging results. HFE technology for cattle will meet most needs and can be implemented at a relatively low cost. It was proposed that future work be designed to collect a mass of data under commercial conditions. It was also proposed that data be collected to determine the suitability of the technology on long grain fed cattle to fill in this knowledge gap. It was proposed that SPUC work continue because it showed promise as a technology that will meet all market access requirements including the most stringent halal requirements. However, it is still a technology in its infancy and will require additional work before it is a commercial prospect.


Since the end of 2009, no further work for the above technologies has been funded in this area by AMPC and the processors. However, alternative stunning technologies for sheep are currently under investigation.


Title Size Date published
938.5KB 01/01/2006
283.3KB 01/08/1986
344.4KB 01/01/2006
802.3KB 01/01/2006
663.0KB 01/03/1985

This page was last updated on 25/07/2017

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