Perdue Farms has installed a Controlled Atmosphere Stunning (CAS) system at its Milford, Delaware plant.  The move is part of the Perdue’s promise to convert all its operations away from shackling and electrical stunning of chickens.

The CAS system uses carbon dioxide to calm, then sedate chickens, and then brings about an irreversible  loss of consciousness prior to processing.

“Since implementing the CAS system, we’re seeing measurable poultry welfare improvements in product quality.  Our technology uses both carbon dioxide and oxygen in the mix, which creates less stress on the birds as they go through the chambers,” said Bruce Stewart-Brown, DVM and Senior Vice President of Food Safety, Quality and Live production at Perdue.  “In addition, shackling an unconscious bird increases accuracy and proper placement in the shackles as they continue to move through the process of being harvested.  The difference is night and day,” Stewart-Brown said.

The controlled atmosphere stunning is the first phase of more than a $15-million project to change live bird handling at the Milford facility.  In the second phase, covered trucks will bring the birds to the plant in redesigned transport crates and then deliver them to a fully-enclosed, temperature-controlled de-stressing staging area prior to processing.  The transport crates are then transferred to the CAS system.  The new process, the first of its kind in the United States, will be operational in the fall of 2018.

Perdue’s Milford facility is the largest organic poultry plant in the United States, supplying 1.2 million organic and no-antibiotics-ever chicken per week for the Perdue brands.  In 2016, Perdue announced its commitment to 100 percent controlled atmoshere stunning.  Perdue will continue the conversion of the rest of its plants to Controlled Atmosphere Stunning, with the next installation planned for 2019.