Election 2016

The Chicken and EEG Problem: Looking For a Humane Way to Kill Chickens

wired.comPerdue, the country’s fourth largest poultry producer, won plaudits this week when it announced a suite of reforms to its chicken farms: windows, sunlight, access to the outdoors. Most notable, according to one press release, will be Perdue’s bid to replace the traditional way of slaughtering chickens with “controlled atmosphere stunning”—a turn of phrase so bland it can only be deliberate. Because they are, after all, still talking about killing chickens.

Now the current way of killing chickens sounds undeniably grisly. Shackled upside down by their feet, a line of chickens gets stunned in a bath of electrified water before a rotating blade cuts their throats. Controlled atmosphere stunning, on the other hand, uses gas to knock the birds out before they die of oxygen deprivation or later bleed-out. The word I heard several times—from Perdue as well as the Humane Society of the United States—was “gentle.”

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