A penetrating captive bolt is a method of euthanasia that’s approved for use in swine by the American Veterinary Medical Association, as well as the National Pork Board. This method is approved with a common frontal placement by both organizations. Two alternative placements of interest have been identified to complete euthanasia in swine: temporal placement, and placement behind the ear directed towards the opposite eye. There has been little published research on the captive bolt euthanasia of swine. Most of the published research is on market weight (or smaller) pigs. While used in the industry with success, the captive bolt euthanasia of swine larger than 120 kilograms (265 pounds) has not been validated as an effective method, specifically for swine over 200 kilograms (440 pounds).
Learn more about the first steps of research to scientifically validate the temporal and behind the ear placements of a captive bolt for the euthanasia of large sows and boars. This study determined the tissue depth, cross sectional brain area and brain damage for the frontal, temporal, and behind the ear placements for the euthanasia of swine via the penetrating captive bolt on sow and boar cadaver heads.
Karly Anderson is the Animal Welfare Lab Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and a master’s student in the Veterinary Medicine Graduate Program at the University of Minnesota. If you are interested in her research, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.