Chickens for Meat & Breeding (England): Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock (PB7275)

Disposal of Surplus Chicks and Embryos in Hatchery Waste

The permitted methods of killing surplus chicks and embryos in hatchery waste are set down in Schedule 11 of the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 (S.I. 1995 No. 731) as amended by the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) (Amendment) Regulations 1999 (S.I. 1999 No. 400) and the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2000 (S.I. 2000 No.3352)

They are:

for chicks -
mechanical apparatus producing immediate death (instantaneous mechanical destruction); exposure to gas mixtures (high concentration of carbon dioxide or argon or argon/carbon dioxide mixture containing not more than 30% carbon dioxide and not less than 60% argon); or dislocation of the neck.

for embryos in hatchery waste -
mechanical apparatus producing immediate death (instantaneous mechanical destruction).

Chicks should always be killed by a skilled operator. Birds must be placed in the highest obtainable concentration of carbon dioxide, supplied by a source of 100% carbon dioxide. When chicks are exposed to gas mixtures, they must remain in the gas mixture until dead. The capacity of any mechanical apparatus must be sufficient to ensure that chicks and embryos are killed instantaneously.



When using carbon dioxide or gas mixtures, the operator should check thoroughly to ensure that all birds are dead. When using any of the permitted gas mixtures it is essential that the levels of each gas are monitored and maintained as any build up in the oxygen content will significantly reduce the effectiveness of the system and is likely to result in birds taking longer to die or possibly regaining consciousness. The rate of delivery of birds should be such as to ensure that birds are not crushed or suffocated during exposure to gas mixtures or when passing through a mechanical apparatus.

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