Animal welfare agency can sue government over poultry slaughter
A US district court has ruled that the Humane
Society can sue the federal government over industry practices for slaughtering
poultry including waterbath stunning.
The fundamental issue in the case is the fact that a large amount of the
animals consumed for food are not provided federal protection during the
Plaintiffs argued that that the process of shackling conscious birds
upside-down and moving them through an electrified water bath that paralyses
them is cruel to animals. They also say the process is unsafe for humans because
it increases the chance that a bird will inhale faeces in the water, leading to
a higher bacteria level that could cause food poisoning for consumers if the
meat was not properly cooked. They allege that birds trying to escape can spread
dirt and dust inhaled by workers, defecate on the employees and cause them
emotional distress after seeing the birds suffer.
"Plaintiffs claim they face an imminent exposure to heightened risk that
they will become ill from consuming inhumanely slaughtered animals," Judge Patel
said in the decision.
veterinarians are assigned to poultry plants to ensure
practices there do not violate the law. A USDA spokesman had no comment on the
decision. Several organisations including the Humane Society
and the East Bay Animal
were dismissed from the lawsuit but individual members still have standing
within the court, the judge decided.
The Humane Society has estimated that 9 billion birds, or about 95%
of domestic animals raised on farms, are unprotected during the slaughter
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