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Two CO2 anaesthesia devices tested 'safe'

Two newly developed anaesthesia devices using a mixture of CO2 and O2 are safe for the use on newborn piglets prior to castration. That conclusion was drawn by researchers of the Animal Sciences Group at the Dutch Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR).

Safe exposure
"The results of the safety experiment showed that the conventional piglets used in the experiments, varying from three to eight days of age, could safely be exposed to a mixture of 70% CO2 and 30% O2 for two minutes," the researchers concluded in their report.

"During the experiments in a well ventilated room (i.e. farrowing unit), measurements of the CO2-concentration in the vicinity of the user were not above legal limits.

"In this project, two anaesthetising devices have been developed that meet the technical and practical criteria formulated by researchers and pig farmers. The expectation is that these devices can be integrated effectively into Dutch husbandry practice."

Need
The need for piglet anaesthesia came up in the Netherlands now a countrywide agreement has been reached on the pork sale. As from March 1, no Dutch supermarket will sell meat that comes from piglets that have been castrated without anaesthesia.

Last year, the Animal Sciences Group investigated the possibilities of using CO2 gas anaesthesia during castration for piglets. Despite an outcome pointing in the direction of a mixture of 70% CO2 en 30% O2, leading to full unconsciousness and complete analgesia, further research needed to be carried out:

• Determining the safety margins and mode of operation to develop a safe administration of CO2 and O2 for man and animal (safety experiment)
 • Transforming these results into an anaesthetising device that can be used at a pig farm and is simple and safe in use (development of an anaesthetising device)

Two Dutch companies have prepared a machine that is related to this solution, Schippers (Bladel) and NAM (Amsterdam).

Related websites
Wageningen University and Research Center (WUR) 
Animal Sciences Group (ASG) 
Schippers  

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