Składanowska-Baryza, J., Ludwiczak, A., Pruszyńska-Oszmałek, E. et al. 2020. Effect of two different stunning methods on the quality traits of rabbit meat. Animals 10(4), 700.
The aim of the study was to assess the effect of two different stunning methods on the level of blood stress indicators (cortisol, insulin, glucose) and rabbit meat quality. The experiment was conducted on crossbreds of Hycole, Hyla, and Jordan rabbit strains: from mating Hyplus PS19 females with Hycole males (genotype I, n = 20) and Jordan × Hycole females with Hyla males (genotype II, n = 20). Prior to slaughter, the animals were weighed and divided into two groups according to the stunning method: 10 rabbits from each genetic group were stunned with an electric stunner, and the remaining 10 were stunned mechanically using a club. Genotype II was characterised by higher body weight at slaughter (p < 0.05), hot dressing percentage (p < 0.05), cold dressing percentage (p < 0.05), hot carcass weight (p < 0.05), and cold carcass weight (p < 0.05), compared to genotype I. The stunning method slightly influenced the meat lightness (p = 0.035). The meat of electrically stunned rabbits was characterised with higher drip loss (p < 0.0001) and lower plasticity (p = 0.043). Among the analysed traits of meat, only the drip loss (p = 0.014) and the percentage of extractable fat were affected by genotype (p = 0.044). Neither the stunning method nor the genotype affected rabbit meat texture characteristics. The study was undertaken because of the increasing importance of rabbit meat production as a developing sector of the meat industry and the need to improve the welfare of rabbits by selecting the most acceptable slaughter methods for these animals. To conclude, the analysed rabbit meat was characterised with good quality. There were only slight differences between genotypes and the stunning groups.