Less Suffering in Slaughterhouses Needs Welfare Pressure

Photo By: L. Parascandola

Trade magazine PoultryUSA's April cover article, "Future of Gas Stunning," starts out: "Recent activity by welfare advocacy groups United Poultry Concerns and PETA has resulted in renewed interest in alternatives to electrical stunning in the U.S. poultry industry." Inaccurately the article says that the Poultry Inspection Regulations of 1984 require that chickens "be rendered insensible to pain prior to slaughter." In fact, the regulations state only that "Poultry shall be slaughtered in accordance with good commercial practices in a manner that will result in thorough bleeding of the carcasses and assure that breathing has stopped prior to scalding."

Birds are excluded from the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and tortured with paralytic electric shocks every day in the slaughterhouses. In addition, millions of chickens are scalded alive in the tanks after their throats are cut. Former Tyson chicken slaughterhouse worker Virgil Butler testified that in the tanks the chickens "flop, scream, kick, and their eyeballs pop out of their heads."

While claiming that an argon/nitrogen-based stun/kill system would cost more than the electric shock system now in use, the article concludes that "gas stunning might be mandated due to pressure generated by activist and consumer groups" who influence restaurant chains, industry trade groups, and legislators.

What Can I Do?
  • Be Vegan and:

    Urge your Senators and House Representative to sponsor legislation to include poultry under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. To learn your Members of Congress call the Capital Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Or visit www.senate.gov or www.house.gov. To learn more, order Poultry Slaughter: The Need for Legislation from UPC. Donations to cover costs are appreciated.

    Urge the National Chicken Council (U.S. industry trade group), KFC and McDonald's to pressure poultry producer/suppliers like Tyson, Perdue, and Pilgrim's Pride to switch to the argon/nitrogen-based Controlled Atmosphere Stunning technology recommended by poultry scientists to reduce the suffering of billions of birds significantly in the slaughter plants each year.

    George Watts, CEO
    National Chicken Council
    1015 15th St. NW, Suite 930
    Washington DC 20005
    Phone: 202-296-2622; Fax: 202-293-4005
    Email: Gwatts@ChickenUSA.org

    James A Skinner, CEO
    McDonald's Corporation
    McDonald's Plaza
    Oak Brook, IL 60523
    Phone: 630-623-3000; Fax: 630-623-5004

    David Novak, CEO
    KFC-Yum! Brands
    1441 Gardiner Lane
    Louisville, KY 40213
    Phone: 502-874-8300; fax: 502-874-8291
    Hotline: 800-225-5532

    (For global KFC heads/ board of directors/ contact information, visit www.kentuckyfriedcruelty.com/addresses.asp.)