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Implications for humaneness ...

Posted by Penny2 on 10 Mar 2011 at 13:22 GMT

Despite the evidence presented here that the rats are unconscious around 3 to 4 seconds after decapitation, I am still uncertain as to whether this is a humane technique because I do not know what the animals are experiencing during that (albeit short) time period.

If there is severe pain due to the decapitation injury - which COULD be in line with the authors' suggestion that post-decapitation EEG is the same in anaesthetised and awake animals due to the arousal stimulus of the cut - then it becomes debatable whether up to 4 seconds of severe pain is acceptable.

For example, if the level of suffering is similar to that caused by amputating a limb without anaesthesia, then to me decapitation could not possibly be considered humane (I would certainly not wish to experience that level of pain, even for 3 or 4 seconds). Have any studies ever been undertaken to try to predict the level of pain associated with decapitation?

No competing interests declared.