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US meat producer Tyson finds gas as humane as electrocution in bird slaughter

US meat producer Tyson finds gas as humane as electrocution in bird slaughter

Tyson Foods Inc., the world's largest meat producer, says using gas in killing chickens does not seem to be more humane than electrocuting them. But the company is seeking further study before changing its practice.
Tyson recently completed a two-year study on using "controlled atmosphere stunning" to knock chickens out before they are slaughtered. The company now uses "electrical stunning" when preparing to slaughter the birds.
Tyson processes 43 million chickens a week.
"While our research has concluded controlled atmosphere stunning may be an acceptable alternative, we have not currently found it to be more humane than conventional electrical stunning," Bill Lovette, senior group vice president of Poultry and Prepared Foods for Tyson Foods, said in a statement.
Tyson wants the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville to study the method further.
"We're going to continue to use the conventional method of stunning in our poultry plants because we believe it's humane and effective," Lovette said. "However, we also believe there's merit in the continued study of CAS and other technology.
"We're going to ask the agricultural science officials at the University of Arkansas to initiate their own CAS study, using their own scientists and methods, to see if they reach the same conclusion."
The research will be coordinated by the newly created and unfilled chair of food animal well-being at the College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, Tyson said. Tyson has committed $1.5 million (euro1.2 million) to establish the chair position.
Animal-welfare group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it advocates the gassing method because it eliminates electrical stunning and the chance that birds are conscious during slaughter.
Matt Prescott, manager of factory-farming campaigns for PETA, said other published studies by other groups and companies have "concluded hands down that controlled atmosphere killing is more humane than current slaughter methods."


Updated : 2021-03-09 00:34 GMT+08:00