Preslaughter electrical stunning of eels

D.H.F. Robb, S.B. Wotton, J.W. van de Vis

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    The current procedures for slaughtering European eels (Anguilla anguilla) for food are very slow and cause suffering. Although there is little legislation for protecting the welfare of fish at slaughter, the legislation covering farmed mammals and birds at slaughter is well defined, requiring that these animals be rendered insensible immediately or without fear or pain prior to being killed. For many mammals and birds this can be achieved using an electrical stun, which is then followed by a procedure that actually kills them, such as exsanguination. This paper reports the investigation of the possibility of using electricity to stun eels, rendering them insensible to pain. Using 1 s duration alternating currents at 50 Hz applied directly across the head of the fish, it was shown that it was possible to stun the fish with currents of 0.1 A and above. Increasing the applied current increased the length of the period of the stun. When the duration of the application of the current was increased to 30 s it was found that the fish could be killed using currents between 0.50 A and 0.95 A. These results show that it is possible to use electricity to instantly stun eels and also to kill them by using longer duration currents. The use of preslaughter electrical stunning at slaughter could allow the welfare of these fish at slaughter to be improved greatly.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-42
    JournalAquaculture Research
    Publication statusPublished - 2002

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    Robb, D. H. F., Wotton, S. B., & van de Vis, J. W. (2002). Preslaughter electrical stunning of eels. Aquaculture Research, 33, 37-42.