Grandin, T., Velarde, A., Strappini, A. et al. 2023. Slaughtering of water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) with and without stunning: A focus on the neurobiology of pain, hyperalgesia, and sensitization. Animals 13(15), 2406.

The slaughter process in livestock is considered a stressor where the transport and handling of animals, as well as the selected stunning and bleeding methods, can cause acute pain, distress, and suffering. In water buffaloes, although stunning is known to be performed before bleeding to induce unconsciousness, no emphasis is made on the nociceptive events during this process. Particularly, current mechanical stunning methods applied to cattle are unsuitable for water buffaloes due to anatomical differences in the skull from other large ruminants. Furthermore, although very high-pressure pneumatic (200–220 psi) may be effective in the frontal position for lighter-weight water buffalos, for heavier animals, it is less likely to be effective. The present review aims: (1) to analyze the anatomical particularities of water buffaloes to discuss the importance of selecting a stunning method suitable for buffaloes, and (2) to revise the potential pain-related consequences, such as hyperalgesia and sensitization, and the signs to assess the stun quality and death to comprehend the relevance of a proper technique according to the species.

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