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Post-mortem indications of poor welfare—an hypothesis upon supine broilers: stress and efforts to ameliorate suffering in a low throughput abattoir
  1. John James Cranley
  1. Welfare, Farm, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr John James Cranley; johnjcranley{at}


Broilers at slaughterhouses are prone to heat stress. They should be checked for panting, which occurs above an ambient temperature of 17°C. Fan cooling, water misting, cooling by evaporation on module roofs, cascading water down the lattice of drawers, and cold drinks all help to reduce heat stress. Drawer opening by 4–6 cm and stocking reduction also facilitate heat escape. Removing live or dead supine, or trapped prone broilers, with broken legs or wings, wedged toes or with rubbed upper wing joints, improves the welfare of the remaining broilers. Indications of stressed broilers, for example, pale soft exudative and dark, firm, dry pectoral muscles, should be sought in untreated dead on arrival birds and in postmortem rejects.

  • behaviour
  • birds
  • chickens
  • ethics
  • trauma
  • Welfare
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  • Contributors This study is my own work.

  • Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data is included in the study.

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