Since the confirmation of a link between BSE and vCJD there has been concern about the current stunning methods in cattle. The study will examine the prevalence of neural tissue embolism after stunning with either penetrating or non-penetrating captive bolt guns in cattle.
<p>Such embolism of neural tissue would pose a risk for contamination of edible tissues with potentially infective material. In addition to determining the prevalence of neural embolism, this project also aims to demonstrate whether the emboli could contaminate the carcass after passing through the lungs into the arterial circulation. <p>Demonstration of embolic material in the aorta would substantiate claims that neural tissue emboli pose a risk for contamination of the entire carcass.
The project plan requires that a total of 200 cattle will be sampled under general anaesthesia. Half of these animals will be stunned using a penetrating captive bolt gun and the remaining half by a non-penetrating captive bolt gun. The prevalence of neural embolism will then be determined. <p>In order to demonstrate whether the emboli could contaminate the carcass after passing through the lungs into the arterial circulation, blood will be sampled directly from the aorta or left ventricle of the heart after first injecting a suitable brain tissue suspension into the jugular venous supply of the same test animal.
<p> Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.