Processing question

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by psychoroo, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. psychoroo

    psychoroo Out Of The Brooder

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    I was reading a book titled Basic Butchering of Livestock and the author recommends using a knife through the roof of the mouth to pierce the brain prior to cutting the chickens neck. He claims it is more humane and, while it doesn't kill the chicken, it relaxes the muscles making it easier to pluck. Has anybody ever heard of this before and, if so, has anyone tried it and does it work.
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Sounds inhumane to me, as well as illogical; no offense whatsoever intended to you nor the author, though I understand my thoughts on it may well be offensive.

    If you pierce the brain itself, you've killed it; not merely paralyzed it. Anything less than brain death means you missed it or inflicted the most superficial injury possible, which is hardly humane.

    To me this sounds like he's damaging a nerve, or nerve cluster, which is paralyzing the bird, then butchering it thinking its complete inability to express its agony proves that it's a humane death. Unfortunately I'd bet you they're suffering a gruesome and horrific death.

    That's a very tiny and utterly necessary organ you're aiming for, you're going in through a very sensitive area to reach it, then somehow not killing it? Doesn't make sense.

    It makes as much sense as the idea of stunning the chook before killing it. Have you ever been stunned with voltage or a blow to the head? In the majority of cases, all it does is stop you from crying out or moving, but it certainly does not prevent you feeling any other damages that are being inflicted on you, and it's not painless in itself. But since they can't express their pain, it's easy to think they're not suffering. It looks neater and that's its only virtue.

    There pretty much isn't a more simple, sure, swift, and humane death than chopping off their heads or breaking their necks. You sever the spinal cord and that's that. The nervous system may chuck some spasms but they're dead, no doubt about it. It looks more gory though, and can be messier, and as with any method there can be a failure rate based on the human side of the equation. But it's a better bet than stabbing them in the roof of the mouth with a knife or immobilizing them with electricity.

    It does beg the question... How does he know this doesn't kill them? How long did he leave them before he knew it wasn't fatal, or under what circumstances did he find that out?

    Best wishes.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2014
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  3. ChickenGirl 19

    ChickenGirl 19 Out Of The Brooder

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    That would be pithing from what I've heard here. I've heard people on BYC say it's a humane death and that yes, it does kill them. Can't speak from experience though.
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Haha, gross, 'pithing' like one does with a fruit... Good name for it.

    If one used a decently thick implement, and knew where to aim, I can't see why it wouldn't be a fairly humane death, provided one was swift, did not miss, and knew what they were doing. Poking them in the general area without killing them though is definitely not humane.

    Best wishes.
     
  5. psychoroo

    psychoroo Out Of The Brooder

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    That's not true at all. Just because you pierce the brain doesn't mean you have killed it. If it was then they would die instantly after removing the head instead of struggling and running around if let loose. After doing more research it is touted as a very humane way to do it. By severing the spinal cord the chick has no way to feel pain.

    And yes, I have been knocked out, more times than I would like to remember. However, when I was knocked out I did not feel any sensations at all. It wasn't until I regained consciousness that I felt pain. You can't feel when you are unconscious, that's the whole idea. That's why they put you under for surgery. They make you go to sleep, not shoot you up with pain killers so you don't feel it.

    As far as questioning the man about the book, I'll let his credentials speak for themselves:

    "John J. Mettler, Jr., D.V.M., served in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps during WWII, is a retired large-animal veterinarian in upstate New York and has written several books on animals, including Basic Butchering of Livestock & Game and Horse Sense. An avid sportsman, his appreciation of the noble turkey was the inspiration for his most recent book, Wild Turkeys.

    John has written on a broad range of veterinary topics for various magazines and has written a veterinary column for American Agriculturist for over 20 years. He has professional memberships that include the New York State Veterinary Medical Society (past chairman), the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the Society for Theriogenology, and the American Veterinary Medical Association. John lives in Copake Falls, New York, with his wife, Elinor."

    I think he may know a thing or two.

    No offense.
     
  6. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
  7. psychoroo

    psychoroo Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm sorry but you are completely mistaken, and confusing facts with what you believe, your 'opinion' or what you 'feel'. Scientific studies, including new Dutch studies on laboratory animals show that decapitation does not instantly kill and that animals are capable of feeling pain for up to 29 seconds. 29 seconds is a long time when you are in pain. And then there is Mike, the headless chicken that lived for 18 months after his head was taken leaving a portion of his brain stem but no brain. Guess that was 18 months of nervous twitching and walking around.

    I did not confuse being stunned with being knocked out. You evidently don't know the definition of being stunned. The definition of stunning, in particular electric stunning as used in slaughtering today is "Electrical stunning is done by sending an electrical current through the brain and/or heart of the animal before slaughter. Current passing through the brain induces an immediate but non-fatal general convulsion that produces unconsciousness." Unconsciousness is the keyword here. You can't feel when unconscious.

    Suprise you found nothing on a government website.

    I took a look at the study you site claiming pithing is in-humane. Your study is for livestock animals including cows and sheep. That study was performed by large animal vets who have the same Martin Appelt was a veterinary officer in the Austrian Army. Please don't throw stones at others who can't defend themselves. Maybe your guy made a rookie mistake. Or maybe he was talking about large animals, which, by the way, are very different physiologically from birds. I have a vet here that is a ruminant specialist but she is also excellent with both rabbits and birds. Just because you specialize in one doesn't mean you can't be knowledgeable on something else. Are you a vet? Do you specialize in birds? Why should I trust your opinion?

    My original post asked a very simple set of questions. Has anyone heard of it, has anyone tried it, and did it work. I did not ask for a lecture on the humaneness of it or to get into a discussion on feelings and stunning. After more research here I see that many people on this site use it and are happy with the results.

    I don't mean to be offensive but I am tired of individuals on the internet passing on information that is untrue or their opinion as fact. You are wrong on several aspects of your comments (stunning, unconsciousness, decapitation meaning instant death) and you should preface your posts with the statement "this is my opinion".
     
  8. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Debate aside - you are referring to "pithing" and a search here should lead you to several very good discussions on the method.
     
  9. psychoroo

    psychoroo Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you, and I did. Seems like those that do it right really like it and prefer no other way. I'm getting ready to do 24 birds and will probably give it a try.
     
  10. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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