Friday, October 22, 2010

A Stress-Free End for Chickens?

No one likes to think about these things but it's only right for those of us who are carnivores to consider how the animals we eat meet their end. Yesterday, the New York Times published a fascinating story by William Neuman on a new, more humane way to slaughter chickens. The story, New Way to Help Chickens Cross to the Other Side, describes it:

"Two premium chicken producers, Bell & Evans in Pennsylvania and Mary’s Chickens in California, are preparing to switch to a system of killing their birds that they consider more humane. The new system uses carbon dioxide gas to gently render the birds unconscious before they are hung by their feet to have their throats slit, sparing them the potential suffering associated with conventional slaughter methods." 

The technique was developed in consultation with livestock expert Dr. Temple Grandin. 

The article also points out that Nebraska company, MBA Poultry, which sells under the Smart Chicken brand, has been using gas stunning technology since 2005.

Mary's Chickens are sold at Whole Foods. I also happen to enjoy them because they are air-chilled when processed. As I wrote back in 2008, Instead of getting chicken loggy with water and paying for that water in the packaging, customers get all chicken, more flavor, and the potential for crispy skin.

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