Campaigners Target McDonald's over Stunning

US - Animal welfare campaigning organisation, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has re-started a campaign to persuade McDonald's to make all its chicken suppliers use 'controlled atmosphere killing' in their processing plants.
calendar icon 18 February 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

In the slaughterhouses of McDonald's chicken suppliers in the US, PETA says birds are dumped out of their transport crates and hung upside-down in metal shackles, which can result in broken bones, extreme bruising, and haemorrhaging. Workers have the opportunity to abuse live birds, and birds have their throats cut while they are still conscious. Many birds are immersed in tanks of scalding-hot water while they are still alive and able to feel pain.

In 2000, following the launch of PETA's (original) McCruelty campaign, McDonald's made some basic animal welfare improvements. Since that time, the company has refused to eliminate the worst abuses that its chickens suffer in the US, including abuses during slaughter, says PETA. This cruelty would be illegal if dogs or cats – or even pigs or cows – were the victims.

PETA says that there is a less cruel method of slaughter available today that would eliminate these abuses, yet McDonald's refuses to require its US suppliers to switch to this method.

McDonald's has the ability to end these abuses, PETA explains. There is a less cruel method of chicken slaughter available to McDonald's suppliers called controlled atmosphere killing, or CAK, and it would cost the corporation nothing to demand that its suppliers use it. CAK would eliminate the worst abuses currently suffered by chickens killed for McDonald's in the US. In fact, a 2005 study about CAK produced by McDonald's concluded that it is far better for animals than the current method of slaughter.

Further Reading

- You can find out more about the PETA campaign by clicking here.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on stunning methods - which includes statements by the US National Chicken Council and poultry veterinary associations - by clicking here.
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