California-based Mercy For Animals on Wednesday filed a petition with the USDA that seeks to have poultry covered under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, a 1958 law covering the humane slaughter of pigs, cows and other livestock.

NCC’s response: 

“Chicken slaughter is already regulated by USDA’s FSIS under the Good Commercial Practices regulations of the federal Poultry Products Inspection Act.  These regulations  address poultry slaughter, and government inspectors are present for the slaughter process in every poultry processing plant.

“The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act was written specifically for cattle and other “red meat” species – very large animals that must be handled in a certain way.  It wasn’t designed to accommodate chicken.  In fact, trying to shoehorn chicken harvesting into the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act could significantly compromise chicken welfare.  It’s a square peg – round hole situation.

“As with species subject to the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, all chickens are stunned and rendered senseless to pain before slaughter.

“Chicken companies already have strong moral and financial motivation to ensure chickens are handled properly.  Each chicken represents an investment by the processor, and mishandling chickens is not in a processor’s financial interest.  Companies take this very seriously.  Any abuse is not tolerated by the industry nor FSIS.  This whole process is routinely audited internally, by customers and by independent third parties and monitored on a continuous basis by FSIS inspectors.”


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