Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen, NY, and the Animal Welfare Institute in Washington, DC, filed a legal petition with the US Department of Agriculture asking the agency to develop and enforce regulations that would, for example, ban the slaughter of birds with broken legs or wings.
The petition cites various undercover videos taken at poultry processing firms that depict animal cruelty. The groups argue that “FSIS itself has identified inhumane handling of birds as a cause of adulteration”.
The petition also cites statistics that show a small percentage of birds enter the scalding tank alive. The groups claim fast line speeds contribute to improper stunning and slaughter, although poultry industry stakeholders and the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service have stressed those birds represent only a fraction of the billions of birds processed each year.
According to the petition, “Fast line speeds limit the amount of time available to administer a back-up stun, or a back-up cut, if needed. Because fast line speeds cause workers to struggle to adequately process poultry, birds are sometimes not properly stunned or slaughtered, and some are still alive when they reach the scalding tanks. Indeed, reports indicate that at some slaughter establishments up to 3 percent of all birds may enter the scald tanks alive.”