PETA Urges Tyson to Adopt Better Stunning Method

US - Welfare campaigners, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), is urging Tyson Foods to adopt controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) as a 'less cruel method' of slaughtering chicken and turkey.
calendar icon 2 September 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

In a press release, PETA, which owns stock in Tyson Foods, says it has submitted a shareholder resolution encouraging the meat producer – based in Springdale in Arkansas – to advance the welfare of chickens by phasing in a less cruel method of poultry slaughter called 'controlled-atmosphere killing' (CAK). Tyson is one of the largest chicken producers in the US. Since purchasing beef and pork producer IBP Fresh Meats, the company has become a giant in the worldwide meat processing industry, serving more than 90 countries.

Currently, Tyson kills chickens via a method in which the birds are dumped onto conveyors and hung upside down by their legs in metal shackles, often causing broken bones, says PETA. The birds' heads are run through an electrified bath that gives them painful shocks without rendering them insensible to pain. They are still conscious when their throats are cut, and many are scalded to death in defeathering tanks.

PETA explains that with CAK, the oxygen that chickens and turkeys breathe is slowly replaced with inert, nonpoisonous gasses such as argon and nitrogen, putting the birds 'to sleep' quickly and painlessly – and there is no live dumping, live shackling or live scalding of birds. Studies conclude that CAK is the least cruel form of poultry slaughter and that it also improves working conditions.

Restaurant chains Burger King, Popeye's, Wendy's, Hardee's, and Carl's Jr. are giving purchasing preference to suppliers that use CAK. Also, KFCs in Canada and grocery chains Safeway, Harris Teeter, and Winn-Dixie are already purchasing birds killed by CAK or have committed to doing so. McDonald's also has suppliers in Europe that use CAK.

"Controlled-atmosphere killing is far better for the millions of birds killed each year by Tyson," says PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman. "Consumers care about animal welfare, so the last thing the company needs is to be associated with animal abuse."

Further Reading

- You can view the PETA resolution report by clicking here.
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