Winter 2005 Poultry Press << Previous

Animal Advocates Seek “Humane” Slaughter Coverage and Less Cruel Killing Technology for Birds

Photo By: L. Parascandola
Chickens are conscious following electric waterbath immobilization and neck cutting


On November 21, The Humane Society of the United States and the East Bay Animal Advocates of Oakland, California filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture to enforce coverage of birds under the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act of 1958. The suit, filed in federal district court in San Francisco, states that poultry plants hang conscious birds in shackles and subject them to paralyzing electric shocks before cutting their necks and dumping them into tanks of scalding, feces-contaminated water, often while the birds are still alive. Birds are intentionally kept alive during the slaughter process so their hearts will pump out blood.

In 1992 -1995 United Poultry Concerns campaigned on behalf of three bills introduced by then House Representative Andrew Jacobs of Indiana that, enacted into law, would have added a humane slaughter provision to the 1957 Poultry Products Inspection Act. Despite many sponsors in the House of Representatives and a 1994 hearing in the House Agricultural Livestock Committee, at which UPC President Dr. Karen Davis presented oral and written testimony, the proposed legislation failed. Along with renewed efforts to get Congress to enact legislation, activists are now seeking a remedy through the courts. Both efforts are urgently needed.

  • Urge your Members of Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to require that birds be covered under the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. Urge that the pre-slaughter electric shock equipment now being used be replaced by the nitrogen gas-based technology that kills the birds in the transport crates prior to being shackled, slaughtered and scalded.

Mike Johanns, Secretary Of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250
Phone: 202-720-3631

Your Members of Congress (your two Senators and your House Representative)

To learn your Members of Congress call the 24-hour Capital Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Or visit or

  • Order Poultry Slaughter: The Need for Legislation from United Poultry Concerns or read it online at: Our 8-page color booklet shows the sequence of poultry slaughter in photos accompanied by short explanatory paragraphs. Tell the media and others how badly chickens and other “poultry” are treated. Encourage them to join you in making a better life for these birds by supporting protective legislation and by choosing an animal-free diet.
Winter 2005 Poultry Press << Previous