CO2 anaesthetics almost ready for use
Anaesthetising male piglets using carbon dioxide is
likely to become a serious alternative to castration without anaesthetics in the
The use of two different machines, developed by the Dutch companies NAM and
Schippers respectively, offers perspectives, according to preliminary results by
scientists at the Animal Sciences Group (ASG), part of Wageningen University and
Research Centre (WUR).
The research was commissioned by the Dutch
agriculture ministry (LNV) and the product board for livestock and meat (PVV).
As the castration issue is topical in the
Netherlands, the ministry asked the ASG to carry out research into several
techniques of anaesthetics, among which anaesthetics using a mix of CO2 and
Positive outcomes in testing led to the next step: several
companies were asked to develop a gas-based anaesthetics machine, meeting the
scientists' technical requirements and the market's practical
The two models were tested
for safety for piglets and practical use on the experimental pig farm in
Sterksel, the Netherlands. A third prototype, developed at the Technical
University of Delft, the Netherlands, is still being worked on.
existing models, the piglets are placed in a small cabin. Operating a switch
allows the gas to flow into this space - a light signal will tell the user when
the animal is fully anaesthetised, after which it can be castrated.
In the NAM prototype, the piglet will be castrated out of the cabin, in the
Schippers model, castration happens within the cabin. Both machines have a
security mechanism, which makes sure the piglets can only be in the gas for a
maximum of two minutes.
machines are placed on a treatment carriage, so it can be easily transported
through a pig house. It is possible to have more than one unit on a carriage for
speeding up the castration process.
More detailed information regarding
the experiments are expected shortly.
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