Laser Captive Bolt Gun
For reliably stunning animals for slaughter a hybrid captive bolt gun is presented, that has an internal radiation channel through which, after penetration of the animals skull, a high energy laser beam is emitted to induce a coagulation of brain tissue in the Medulla oblongata region, the connection between brain an spinal cord. By severing this connection, without a mechanical force, uncontrolled cramping and thereby stress for the animal is suppressed. Thus, animal welfare, meat quality and occupational safety for slaughterhouse staff can be improved.
In slaughterhouses, animals for slaughter, especially large livestock such as cattle, are routinely stunned by use of captive bolt guns before the actual slaughter by bleeding. This should in particular reduce the suffering of the animals during the actual killing. Different bolt guns are available, among which are some where the bolt penetrates through the skull and into the brain and some which a non-penetrating bolt. The slaughter animal is stunned by the hit on or into the brain. Usually either bullets or compressed air are used as ammunition for bolt guns.
To solve the aforementioned problems a laser hybrid captive bolt gun is presented, that has an internal radiation channel through which, after penetration of the animals skull, a high energy laser beam is emitted to induce a coagulation of brain tissue in the Medulla oblongata region, the connection between brain an spinal cord. Therefore, the bolt contains an optical window at the front side, that is protected against damage by a surrounding ridge. The inside of the bolt contains a light guide. The front side window is air- and liquid-tight, so that no lymph or other contaminating liquids can enter into or compressed air can escape the bolt into the animals skull. An adjustable anchor point can be used to preset the optimal animal species-specific penetration depth, so that the bolt, when entering the brain, can reach close to the Medulla region (see Figure). The closer it gets to this area, the lower the energy or the shorter the duration of the laser pulse can be to achieve complete anesthesia. The coagulation of the Medulla oblongata region severs the connection between the brain and the spinal cord without further mechanical manipulation and can efficiently suppress nerve conduction into the peripheral nervous system and thereby prevent uncontrolled cramps. Hereby, the suffering of slaughter animals can be reduced and meat quality and occupational safety of slaughterhouse staff can be improved.
The required laser parameters were determined in an experimental study. A prototype is under development and will be tested in a cooperative project under real-life conditions.
Granted german patent: DE102017118070B3
European patent application: EP3664622A1
Argentinian patent application: AR113235A1
Uruguayan patent application: UY37840A
Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
Dr. Stefan Uhle