Five trials were conducted to determine the effects of various alternative stunning and restraining methods on the quality of chicken broiler meat. The stunning methods used were electrical whole-body and head-only stunning with different voltages (25 vs 100 V) and frequencies (50 vs 200 Hz), and mechanical captive bolt stunning. Before being stunned, the broilers were restrained either by shackling them by the feet, restraining their heads while they were standing, or placing them in a cone. Convulsions during and after stunning were subjectively scored. At 1 d post-mortem, the pH, color, and the intensity and number of hemorrhages, of breast and thigh muscles were measured. Convulsions were, in order of increasing intensity, observed after whole-body stunning using 50 Hz, whole-body stunning using 200 Hz, head-only stunning, and captive bolt stunning. No differences in ultimate pH were measured. A consistent difference in color was observed between whole-body and head-only stunning. Head-only stunning resulted in darker and more red (P ≤ 0.01) breast muscles. Head-only and captive bolt stunning resulted in hemorrhages that were located more distal in the breast muscle than those observed after whole-body stunning. Captive bolt stunning (in a cone) resulted in fewer (P ≤ 0.01) hemorrhages in breast and thigh muscles than whole-body stunning (100 V, 50 Hz, shackled), and in a similar level of hemorrhaging as electrical head-only stunning (25 V, 200 Hz, in a cone).
Hillebrand, S. J. W., Lambooij, E., & Veerkamp, C. H. (1996). The effects of alternative electrical and mechanical stunning methods on hemorrhaging and meat quality of broiler breast and thigh muscles. Poultry Science, 75(5), 664-671. https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.0750664