photo by Linda Parascandola


H.R. 264, Humane Methods of Poultry Slaughter Act of 1995

Every day more than 30 million chickens, turkeys, and ducks are brutally murdered in U.S. slaughterhouses. Strung up in shackles, these birds are painfully shocked and paralyzed as their faces are dragged through a splashing electric water trough. They are not stunned or intended to be stunned. The purpose of the electric bath is to "relax neck muscles and contract wing muscles for proper positioning of the head for automatic killers, prevent excessive struggling and wing-flapping during bleedout, facilitate rapid bleeding, and relax or loosen feathers." (Journal of Applied Poultry Research 1.1, March 1992, p. 136). The conscious birds exit the trough and move toward the neck cutter with "arched necks, open, fixed eyes, tucked wings, extended, rigid legs, shuddering (seizure), turned up tail feathers, and a lack of defecation (as current increases, the extent of defecation decreases)." JAPR, p. 142.

Birds are excluded from the 1958 "Humane Methods of Slaughter Act." H.R. 264, introduced by Rep. Andy Jacobs of Indiana, seeks to ensure that "Poultry are rendered permanently unconscious by an electrical, chemical, or other method that is rapid and effective before or immediately after the poultry are shackled or otherwise prepared for slaughter."

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