Gunpowder-powered captive bolts for humane slaughter may be problematic in some countries where gun laws limit access to gunpowder charges. An alternative power source for portable, hand-held and single-operator captive bolts suitable for use on large animals such as cattle may allow ongoing use of stunning in these markets if a low-cost alternative can be developed.
Pneumatic power was identified as the most suitable and safest source of non-gunpowder power for captive bolt use in small abattoirs. Literature review clarified required performance specifications for a penetrative stunner for cattle. Pneumatic products developed for other applications currently achieved these thresholds. Key features of non-gunpowder devices were examined and features for a portable, hand-held device identified. Competing designs were developed, compared and evaluated in a series of desktop studies. An optimal configuration of compressed gas source, compression chamber, valve, trigger, bolt and bolt chamber assembly was identified.
This project has delivered a field-tested, compliant, reliable, effective and low-cost, pneumatically-powered captive bolt device along with associated manufacturing and assembly plans.