Annex A - Species-Specific Stunning Guidelines - Red Meat Species
7. Ratites (Ostriches, Rhea and Emus)

7.1 Mechanical

Important factors:

7.1.1 Handling and restraint

Handling and restraint facilities must meet OIE and industry standards, including OSH requirements and sight lines.

7.1.2 Landmarks and approaches

Ratite heads are very small for mechanical stunning.

Top of the head at the midpoint of an imaginary line between the outer ear openings. (See [a].)

[a]
ratite - side view with arrow pointing to top of head for stun site
Legend - landmark for stunning ratites
ImageDescription
indicates the direction that the stunning device should be pointed and the entry point at the top of the animal's head indicates the direction that the stunning device should be pointed and the entry point at the top of the animal's head

7.1.3 Mechanical Stunning Devices

7.1.3.1 Captive Bolt

A captive bolt device may be used if the stunner operator uses the appropriate sized stunning device and the appropriate charge.

To prevent perforation, use a very short bolt and small charge (see below).

Captive Bolt

Ratites: short bolt and smallest charge appropriate for poultry or rabbits.

7.1.3.2 Firearms

Do not use firearms to stun ratites due to the small head, thin frontal bone (0.5 - 1.0 mm) and risk of perforation.

Perforation occurs when the projectile exits from the opposite side of the skull from the entry point.

7.2 Electrical Stunning

Important factors:

7.2.1 Handling and restraint

Handling and restraint facilities must meet OIE and industry standards; including OSH requirements and sight lines is important.

7.2.2 Landmarks and approaches

Both sides of the head behind the eyes and just over the outer ear openings. (See [b].)

Use tongs that facilitate grabbing both sides of the head. The current flows from one side of the head to the other.

[b]
ratite - side view with two arrows pointing to areas to put electrodes
Legend - landmarks for stunning ratites
ImageDescription
indicates where the electrodes should be applied to each side of the animal's head. Indicates where the electrodes should be applied to each side of the animal's head.

7.2.3 Electrical stunning devices

Electrical stunning - Ratites
BirdsAmperageVoltsFrequencyTime (sec)
Ostriches, Rhea, Emus Not hooded 0.12 - 0.4 230 - 300 50-60 3-4
Ostriches, Rhea, Emus Hooded 0.4 230 - 300 50-60 3-4

7.2.4 Shackling and hoisting

Shackling occurs either before or after stunning.

Hoisting occurs after the stun has been completed.

Avoid injury to operators by the bird's legs.

7.2.5 Sticking

Head-only stunning, animals regain sensibility quickly; therefore, stun to stick interval must be ≤ 15 seconds.

Stick the animal as soon as it has been stunned.

The sticking options include a complete ventral cut of the neck (both carotids) below the head, or at the thoracic inlet.

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