What is a pithing rod? Pithing rods are used to ensure that an animal is killed after stunning. The rods destroy parts of the brain and spinal cord, ensuring death, and reduce the reflex kicking which can occur after stunning. The rods seal the stunning hole, providing good biosecurity. Emergency and casualty humane slaughter When animals must be killed humanely on farm for disease control purposes or in an emergency situation, disposable pithing rods allow the slaughterman to adopt best practice. They ensure humane slaughter, provide good biosecurity protection and eliminate the need to bleed out the animal. Why disposable? The rods are designed for single use, this ensures that the rods do not represent a risk of disease spread, and that they remain with the animal when it is disposed. Contingency planning In the case of outbreak of notifiable or epidemic disease, government agencies and welfare organisations may develop contingency plans. ‘Planned stocking’ helps to ensure that rods are available at short notice in the event of a disease outbreak.