COUNTRY: Netherlands



Contact information

Dr Michiel van Mil

ACAS, Animal Consciousness and Application of Sensors

Anoxia developed a novel technology to stun production animals with nitrogen gas foam. This method causes less stress for animals than any other method, and yields a better meat quality upon slaughter. This project aims at determining the onset of unconscious¬ness in production animals with non-invasive sensors in a wireless system, using indirect parameters (breathing, movements and rhythm thereof).

The project will have two subsequent steps:

● Testing functioning and wireless signal transfer of non-invasive sensors for breathing, movement and of process parameters (oxygen) in an environment of high-expansion foam;

● Validating the set-up of the first step with one or more living animals in a nitrogen foam-filled container.

Movement sensors are a well-developed technology in the health sector. Scientific and technological problems to be solved in this application in the agro sector are:

● Non-invasive sensors that are glued on the skin of the animal and connected with wires are prone to errors when the animal is (vigorously) moving. In this project, we will test remote sensing or wirelessly connected non-invasive sensors of crucial parameters and their functioning in high-expansion foam. This means that the scattering properties of foam must be circumvented or corrected.

● Often (small) groups of animals are stunned, for example in slaughterhouses. Here the crucial issue is how to determine whether all animals in the group have been adequately stunned, in particular in a foam environment that by definition has a gas and liquid phase.

About the company

Anoxia is an innovative company that develops and commercializes the Anoxia Foam Technology, with its roots in the aftermath of the outbreak of avian influenza in 2003 in the Netherlands.

During the outbreak control campaign various methods for culling were applied, like electrocution water baths and carbon dioxide stunning, all with a very negative impact on animal welfare.

This impact was so severe that many veterinarians who were tasked to supervise the culling operations got psychological problems and quitted. Therefore the idea came into existence to use nitrogen gas instead of carbon dioxide gas for stunning (to avoid acidification and respiratory stress) and to encapsulate this nitrogen gas in foam for easy handling. As funding for research into this new technology could only be raised slowly, it was only in 2013 that the scientific proof of concept was published . In the same year, EU Regulation 1099/2009 was entering into force and stunning of poultry and pigs with inert gases was allowed in the EU.

Anoxia BV was founded in December 2013 and invested over 1 million Euros (90% private funding) in further R&D, with its first turnover starting in 2017. The method is now being introduced in the market with 3 sizes of stunning apparatus for farm animals, and with first steps into stunning in slaughterhouses.

Anoxia is a dedicated company with 8 workers (technologist, engineers, veterinarian, animal welfare officer, marketing, sales and finance) with its own laboratory in the Food Valley of the Netherlands.

Anoxia is a member of the Poultry Expertise Centre in Barneveld, Netherlands.

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