Home > Animal Rights > Front page Washington Post on “bird abuse”

Front page Washington Post on “bird abuse”

November 1, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

The article, by Kimberly Kindy, opens with:

“Nearly 1 million chickens and turkeys are unintentionally boiled alive each year in U.S. slaughterhouses, often because fast-moving lines fail to kill the birds before they are dropped into scalding water, Agriculture Department records show.

“Now the USDA is finalizing a proposal that would allow poultry companies to accelerate their processing lines, with the aim of removing pathogens from the food supply and making plants more efficient. But that would also make the problem of inhumane treatment worse, according to government inspectors and experts in poultry slaughter.

“USDA inspectors assigned to the plants say much of the cruel treatment they witness is tied to the rapid pace at which employees work, flipping live birds upside down and shackling their legs. If the birds are not properly secured, they might elude the automated blade and remain alive when they enter the scalder.”

We read:
“On slaughter lines across the country, workers shackle the legs of live chickens and turkeys to hang them in place on the processing line before they are electrically stunned and a blade slices their necks.

“If they are not shackled or stunned properly, the blade can miss its mark and live birds are dunked into scalding water used to help defeather them. Researchers say the resulting death is far more painful for the birds than if they are properly incapacitated and their necks cut.”

Charles “Stan” Painter, a federal poultry inspector and chairman of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals is quoted:
“They are literally throwing the birds into the shackles, often breaking their legs as they do it.  They are working so fast, they sometimes get just one leg in the shackles. When that happens, the chickens aren’t hanging right. . . . They don’t get killed, and they go into the scald tank alive.”

The article tells us:
“Birds that have been boiled alive can be identified by the cherry-red color of their skin, which results because their bodies were not drained of blood during slaughter.”

We also get this important reminder about the lack of legal protection:
“Unlike cows, pigs and most other mammals, birds are not protected under the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. Many of the practices common in poultry plants would be prohibited if birds were covered by the act, including the shackling of conscious birds and bone breaking that often occurs during the process, legal experts said. Boiling a bird alive would be an ‘egregious’ violation.”

The article made clear to me why many groups that tout vegan diets also advocate controlled atmosphere stunning upon arrival at the plant, using painless gas, so that birds are unconscious and insensible to pain while being shackled and while having their throats cuts, and thus never conscious when boiled.

You’ll find the piece on line at http://tinyurl.com/of7kw3v

It opens the door for letters to the editor regarding the abuse of animals for food and/or singing the praises of plant based diets.
The Washington Post takes letters at letters@washpost.com and advises:
“We prefer letters that are fewer than 200 words and take as their starting point an article or other item appearing in The Post. They may not have been submitted to, posted to or published by any other media. They must include the writer’s full name — anonymous letters and letters written under pseudonyms will not be considered. For verification purposes, they must also include the writer’s home address, e-mail address and telephone numbers. Writers should disclose any personal or financial interest in the subject matter of their letters. If sending e-mail, please put the text of the letter in the body and do not send attachments — they will not be read…. The Post receives more than a thousand letters each week. Letters editor Mike Larabee looks for concise letters that offer a new perspective or add depth to the discussion of an issue.”

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