If
you thought slaughterhouses couldn’t possibly get any crueler, think again.
According to a recent report in The Washington Post, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is planning to allow chicken slaughterhouses
to speed up production lines from 140 birds per minute to 175 and to replace
government inspectors with plant employees.

Not only
would this move further threaten food and worker safety, it would also greatly
increase animal suffering. Animal welfare is typically a low priority when
workers are forced to rush to keep up with slaughterhouse line speeds. Birds
are often scalded alive and have their throats slit while they’re still conscious.

For years, PETA has
documented meat industry horrors through undercover investigations that have
resulted in federal action and felony cruelty charges. In 2004, PETA released
gruesome undercover footage shot at a Pilgrim’s Pride chicken slaughterhouse in Moorefield, West Virginia. The tape shows
slaughterhouse workers stomping birds, kicking them, and slamming them against
floors and walls. Employees tore the animals’ beaks off, twisted their heads
off, spat tobacco into their eyes and mouths, spraypainted their faces, and
tied their legs together “for
laughs.”

Dan Rather
echoed the views of all compassionate Americans when he said on the CBS Evening News, “There’s no
mistaking what [the PETA video] depicts: cruelty to animals, chickens horribly
mistreated before they’re slaughtered for a fast-food chain.”

Our
Pilgrim’s Pride investigation prompted the Food Safety and Inspection Service
to issue a notice requiring all slaughterhouses nationwide to handle chickens
and turkeys humanely. Another PETA investigation four years later at a turkey factory farm led to the first-ever felony indictments for cruelty to farmed birds and the first-ever
convictions of turkey factory farmers for cruelty.

If dogs and cats
were treated as heinously as were these birds, the perpetrators would be
prosecuted. Even the approximately 150 million cattle, pigs, and sheep
slaughtered each year in the U.S. have some legal protection under the Humane
Methods of Slaughter Act. Yet the 9 billion
birds who are slaughtered for food each year are not even required by law to be
stunned before their throats are cut. They are denied even a humane death and effective
protection from outright sadism in our nation’s slaughterhouses. 

There is no
logical basis for this prejudice against chickens. They are just as deserving of compassion and respect as any other animal. Like
other animals, they feel love, happiness, and fear. They actually score higher
on animal intelligence tests than do dogs and cats, and of course, they feel
pain in the same way.

For
years, PETA has been urging chicken and turkey producers to switch to controlled-atmosphere killing
(CAK), an improved slaughter method that puts birds to sleep by
removing the oxygen from their environment and replacing it with an inert gas. Thanks
to PETA’s pioneering work, companies such as Chipotle, Ruby Tuesday, Subway,
Starbucks, Quiznos, Denny’s, Harris Teeter, Winn-Dixie, Safeway, and Canadian KFCs
all began purchasing birds killed with this less cruel method of slaughter, and
now the U.S. has two CAK chicken suppliers, in addition to a growing number of
CAK turkey suppliers.

But the animals can’t wait for
the industry to ensure that birds aren’t boiled alive—it’s up to each of us to
help stop animal suffering by going vegan.

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Article source: PETA Action Alerts

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