American Humane Endorses New Poultry Stunning

US - American Humane Association's farm animal welfare programme has endorsed a new method of controlled-atmosphere stunning for poultry called Low Atmospheric Pressure System, or “LAPS,” as a humane practice.
calendar icon 9 September 2010
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The decision was made after American Humane Association’s Farm Animal Welfare Scientific Advisory Committee reviewed and accepted research presented on the methodology in July by Yvonne Vizzier Thaxton, Ph.D.

The LAPS system was developed by poultry harvester company TechnoCatch LLC in partnership with OK Foods Inc. and Yvonne Vizzier Thaxton, Ph.D., of Mississippi State University, who lead the research project.

American Humane Association's Farm Animal Welfare programme is the force behind American Humane Certified label, the largest and fastest-growing humane farming consumer label in the world.

“The LAPS method of controlled-atmosphere stunning represents another important milestone in our mission to advance the most humane methods of handling farm animals in our nation’s food supply chain,” said Tim Amlaw, vice president of American Humane Association’s farm animal programme.

“This system eliminates handling and shackling of active birds and produces an irreversible stun with minimal discomfort for the birds. Based on the scientific evidence that was presented to the committee, we have approved LAPS, and it is now included as one of the acceptable methods of harvesting poultry in our welfare standards.”

LAPS is used to thin the air, reducing available oxygen (similar to high-altitude conditions). Unlike other controlled-atmosphere stunning systems, it is not necessary to add any gaseous substances — the atmosphere is controlled by reducing the volume of oxygen. The research is set to be published in the Journal of Applied Poultry Research this winter. The USDA has said in a letter that it does not object to the system and OK Foods, Inc will begin its use.

The Scientific Advisory Committee that provides scientific counsel for American Humane Association’s farm animal welfare programme includes recognized animal science experts and practitioners covering many species.

The committee provides review and advises on a wide range of technologies and issues, ensuring that the programme represents the highest and most accountable science-based standards for the humane treatment of farm animals within the nation’s food supply system.

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