Medycyna Wet. 67 (5), 309-312, 2011
Jarosiewicz K., Słowiński M.
Preslaughter handling as a cause of stress in poultry
Preslaughter handling of poultry includes such activities as feed withdrawal, catching the birds on the farm, loading them into transport containers, and transporting them to the slaughterhouse. Within a relatively short time of preslaughter handling, the birds are subjected to a number of negative stimuli that are new to them. Sudden food and water withdrawal, contact with people, brutal removal, change of environment, upset flock hierarchy, noise, traffic, and unfavorable environmental conditions, shake the natural balance of the organism and cause stress. Stress stimuli are received in many areas of the brain, activating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the sympathetic nervous system, which release a number of substances affecting the state of mobilization of the body in order to defend against the stressor. This results in a changed behavior of birds, actuates a series of metabolic pathways in order to obtain energy, and stimulates the immune system. As a result, there are changes in many physiological parameters, such as the heart rate, body temperature, and the concentration of hormone and energy substances. The research conducted in the Division of Meat Technology at the SGGW in Warsaw showed that prolonged transport and high temperatures during preslaughter transport strained the organisms of chickens and led to stress.
Keywords: preslaughter handling, stress, poultry