Optimistic Vegan

Humane Slaughter Act: Chickens

The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act is an act that was introduced in 1901 to regulate slaughterhouse standards. In summary, it describes how “livestock” are to be “rendered insensible to pain” in a single blow before the rest of the process is done. Also that slaughterhouses can be regulated by the government. This seems straightforward, however, many different slaughterhouses have interpreted this law, as well as the USDA, in different ways.

A few months ago, the courts ruled that poultry was not part of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, because poultry does not count as “livestock.” In the act, it says that cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep, swine, and other livestock are protected by this act, however the courts have interpreted livestock to exclude birds. So as of now, there are no laws protecting the humane slaughter of chickens, turkeys, ducks, bunnies, or other poultry (rabbits have been ruled as poultry…).

So because there are no regulations for these animals, I’m sure you can guess what happens. I won’t go into much detail, but they move so quickly shackled on the track, that they move through the lines at 182-186 per minute. Because of their speed that allows for the best efficiency, most birds aren’t able to be stunned, or their throats slit, so many of them are still alive as they go into the scalding hot water (to remove their feathers).

If you follow the link for “182-186 per minute” it will take you to a site that describes a slaughterhouse worker’s experience. Not only the chickens are abused, there are also very poor conditions for slaughterhouse workers.


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