The slaughtering of sheep, calves and swine with the use of carbon dioxide gas and the handling in connection therewith, in compliance with the provisions contained in this section, are hereby designated and approved as humane methods of slaughtering and handling of such animals under the Act.
(a) Administration of gas, required effect; handling.
(1) The carbon dioxide gas shall be administered in a chamber in accordance with this section so as to produce surgical anesthesia in the animals before they are shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast, or cut. The animals shall be exposed to the carbon dioxide gas in a way that will accomplish the anesthesia quickly and calmly, with a minimum of excitement and discomfort to the animals. In swine, carbon dioxide may be administered to induce death in the animals before they are shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast, or cut.
(2) The driving or conveying of the animals to the carbon dioxide chamber shall be done with a minimum of excitement and discomfort to the animals. Delivery of calm animals to the anesthesia chamber is essential since the induction, or early phase, of anesthesia is less violent with docile animals. Among other things this requires that, in driving animals to the anesthesia chamber, electrical equipment be used as little as possible and with the lowest effective voltage.
(3) On emerging from the carbon dioxide tunnel, the animals shall be in a state of surgical anesthesia and shall remain in this condition throughout shackling, sticking, and bleeding, except for swine in which death has been induced by the administration of carbon dioxide. Asphyxia or death from any cause shall not be produced in animals before bleeding, except for swine in which death has been induced by the administration of carbon dioxide.
(b) Facilities and procedures -
(1) General requirements for gas chambers and auxiliary equipment; operator.
(i) The carbon dioxide gas shall be administered in a tunnel which is designed to permit the effective exposure of the animal. Two types of tunnels, based on the same principle, are in common use for carbon dioxide anesthesia. They are the “U” type tunnel and the “Straight Line” type tunnel, and are based on the principle that carbon dioxide gas has a higher specific gravity than air. The tunnels are open at both ends for entry and exit of animals and have a depressed central section. Anesthetizing, or, in the case of swine, death-inducing, carbon dioxide concentrations are maintained in the central sections of the tunnels. Effective anaesthetization is produced in these central sections. Animals are driven from holding pens through pathways constructed of large-diameter pipe or smooth metal and onto continuous conveyor devices that move the animals through the tunnels. The animals are either compartmentalized on the conveyors by mechanical impellers synchronized with the conveyor or they are otherwise prevented from crowding. While impellers are used to compartmentalize the animals, mechanically or manually operated gates are used to move the animals onto the conveyors. Surgically anaesthetized animals, or killed swine, are moved out of the tunnels by the same continuous conveyors that moved them into and through the carbon dioxide gas.
(ii) Flow of animals into and through the carbon dioxide chamber is dependent on one operator. The operation or stoppage of the conveyor is entirely dependent upon this operator. It is necessary that he be skilled, attentive, and aware of his responsibility. Overdosages and death of animals can be brought about by carelessness of this individual.
(2) Special requirements for gas chamber and auxiliary equipment. The ability of anesthetizing equipment to perform with maximum efficiency is dependent on its proper design and efficient mechanical operation. Pathways, compartments, gas chambers, and all other equipment used must be designed to accommodate properly the species of animals being anesthetized. They shall be free from pain-producing restraining devices. Injury of animals must be prevented by the elimination of sharp projections or exposed wheels or gears. There shall be no unnecessary holes, spaces or openings where feet or legs of animals may be injured. Impellers or other devices designed to mechanically move or drive animals or otherwise keep them in motion or compartmentalized shall be constructed of flexible or well padded rigid material. Power activated gates designed for constant flow of animals to anesthetizing equipment shall be so fabricated that they will not cause injury. All equipment involved in anesthetizing animals shall be maintained in good repair.
(3) Gas. Maintenance of a uniform carbon dioxide concentration and distribution in the anesthesia chamber is a vital aspect of producing surgical anesthesia. This may be assured by reasonably accurate instruments which sample and analyze carbon dioxide gas concentration within the chamber throughout anesthetizing operations. Gas concentration shall be maintained uniform so that the degree of anesthesia in exposed animals will be constant. Carbon dioxide gas supplied to anesthesia chambers may be from controlled reduction of solid carbon dioxide or from a controlled liquid source. In either case the carbon dioxide shall be supplied at a rate sufficient to anesthetize adequately and uniformly the number of animals passing through the chamber. Sampling of gas for analysis shall be made from a representative place or places within the chamber and on a continuing basis. Gas concentrations and exposure time shall be graphically recorded throughout each day's operation. Neither carbon dioxide nor atmospheric air used in the anesthesia chambers shall contain noxious or irritating gases. Each day before equipment is used for anesthetizing animals, proper care shall be taken to mix adequately the gas and air within the chamber. All gas producing and control equipment shall be maintained in good repair and all indicators, instruments, and measuring devices must be available for inspection by Program inspectors during anesthetizing operations and at other times. An exhaust system must be provided so that, in case of equipment failure, non-uniform carbon dioxide concentrations in the gas tunnel or contamination of the ambient air of the establishment will be prevented.