27 April 2020

CNN Reports “Humanely Killed” Chickens: Complain to CNN

Thousands of chicks crowded in a building
Photo of very young chickens in a typical chicken shed: Delaware Public Media

This CNN article, published April 26, 2020, inaccurately states that the “depopulation” of 2 million chickens in Delaware and Maryland means they are being “humanely killed.” Nothing could be further from the “truth seeking” CNN claims to stand for. Read the article: 2 million chickens will be killed in Delaware and Maryland because of lack of employees at processing plants.

“Depopulated” simply means that all the birds in the designated sheds are being intentionally killed on site, or are being trucked, dead or alive, to rendering plants, instead of being sent alive to a standard commercial slaughtering facility.

The poultry industry uses three main methods to mass-exterminate thousands and millions of birds at a time when, for example, a disease outbreak occurs in the flocks, or, as in this case, there aren’t enough workers to slaughter and process them due to coronavirus-related worker shortages.

The three industry methods of mass-extermination of flocks are ventilation shutdown, fire-fighting foam, and carbon dioxide poisoning. In the first case, the birds die slowly of heat stress and suffocation, by being deprived of air in the sheds with the temperature turned up. In the second case, they suffocate to death by being smothered under a rolling carpet of fire-fighting foam. In the third case, they suffocate painfully and slowly to death of carbon dioxide poisoning, administered to them through hoses in a form that simultaneously burns and freezes their lungs.

Reports suggest that in this case, the chickens are being mass-killed by ventilation shutdown. Delaware Public Media reported on April 16: “The recommended method for depopulating the flocks is closing off the ventilation in the chicken house . . . which causes the birds to die from hyperthermia.” In other words, the birds slowly bake and suffocate to death. See How to Kill Half a Million Chickens at Once.

It is just as likely that all three methods could be employed – whatever is most expedient to the industry in keeping with the 2015 U.S. Department of Agriculture policy guide which states in part regarding contagious disease outbreaks in flocks:

While CO2 and water-based foam will continue to be the primary methods first considered in a response, alternative methods will be immediately considered if these primary methods will not achieve depopulation of infected flocks . . . within 24 hours. Ventilation shutdown (VSD) is an adjunct method that will be considered by State and APHIS officials for depopulation of infected poultry based on the defined policy.

What Can I Do?

Please click on CNN’s Feedback link and urge the network to report accurately on the mass-destruction of the millions of chickens dying slow, torturous deaths in the poultry sheds on the Eastern Shore of Delaware and Maryland. The manner of death inflicted on these birds is the opposite of humane.

CNN Feedback

Thank you for speaking up for these birds.
– United Poultry Concerns