16 September 2010

Humane Society hopes to move Butterball to more humane slaughter method

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has purchased stock in Seaboard Foods—known mainly in the U.S. for engaging in pork production and processing—after the 92-year old company announced its intent to purchase a 50% stake in Butterball.

As a stockholder, HSUS hopes to move Butterball to controlled atmosphere killing (CAK), a more humane slaughter method than what is currently being used. CAK is the process of killing birds in their transport containers with reduced oxygen and a mixture of inert gases such as carbon dioxide, argon, and nitrogen.

According to HSUS:
Currently, in Butterball’s slaughter plants, workers unload live turkeys from crates and force their legs into metal shackles. Birds are then shocked with electrified water and have their throats cut, often while they are conscious. After, they enter a tank of scalding water. Some birds are still conscious at this point and drown in the scalding-hot water.
“Butterball’s slaughter method is outdated and particularly cruel,” stated Paul Shapiro, senior director of The HSUS’s factory farming campaign. “Seaboard can use its new position as a major stakeholder to move Butterball toward reducing animal suffering by switching to controlled-atmosphere killing, which would benefit animals and shareholders alike.”

While the end result of slaughter is always the same—unnecessary death—it is imperative that companies who profit from the killing of sentient beings open their eyes to the inhumane methods that are currently being used and move to more compassionate processes. Used to kill 75% of turkeys in the UK, CAK not only reduces suffering, it has been shown to improve product quality along with reducing contamination and injuries to workers.

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Daelyn Fortney | @daelyn
Daelyn is the co-founder & managing director of This Dish Is Veg. In addition to her work at TDIV, Daelyn homeschools her three daughters.

Photo credit: Farm Sanctuary