THE NEED FOR ETHICAL TREATMENT OF POULTRY
"Slaughter is different from processing in that the raw material is alive, has a central nervous system, can express emotional states, and has biological components like humans.", says Dr. Janice Swanson reflecting on animal welfare.
At the poultry plant each day thousands of birds are crammed inside crates stacked on trucks waiting to be killed. Farmers help load trucks with these birds. At the plants, truckload after truckload are pulled into the loading docks with circulatory devices rotating above them to reduce the number of birds who will die of heat suffocation before entering the slaughterhouse. During the winter, an untold number of birds freeze to death on the trucks. Others fall out and freeze to the ground on the docks or along the highway. A forklift picks the top most platform off each flatbed truck, and the birds disappear into the nightfall.
They then come out of the darkness they have been riding in for hours and into a gloomy dust laden air of the plant.
According to USDA, birds planned for meat production are robbed of food and water for eight to twelve hours before catching them in order to save feed costs and in order to reduce gastrointestinal splatter at the plant. "Laying hens", after they have laid their eggs and are considered to be of "no commercial value", are starved for at least 4 days before catching them to get a modest net return for the cost of hen disposition, then ripped from the battery cages to the transport cages, often leaving legs, wings, and heads behind in the cages. At the slaughterhouse, birds sit in the trucks anywhere from one to nine hours or more waiting to be killed. Inside the plant, men known as "live hangers" grab...