US packaged-food company urges humane poultry slaughter
ConAgra Foods, one of the largest packaged-foods companies in
the US, has written to its poultry suppliers urging them to consider
slaughtering chickens by using 'controlled-atmosphere
This method involves locking chickens in a room, the removing all the oxygen
in the air and waiting for the birds to die. A current conventional method is to
cut chickens' throats after they have been immobilised with
ConAgra has been approached about 'controlled-atmosphere
killing' by the advocacy group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The
group, which was not mentioned in the letter to suppliers, believes this method
is more humane.
Last September, ConAgra shareholders rejected a
proposal to research whether it would be feasible to require the company's
suppliers to switch to the advocacy group's preferred method. The group was
entitled to present a shareholder proposal to ConAgra because of the ownership
of 140 shares of stock.
"ConAgra Foods is committed to the humane
treatment of animals," states the letter from Karl Skold, a vice- president for
"As a result, we would urge you to evaluate the method
of slaughter known as 'controlled-atmosphere killing', which some studies
indicate is the most humane form of poultry slaughter available and also
improves product quality and yield when compared to conventional
Skold wrote that suppliers that come to the same
conclusions about the benefits of controlled-atmosphere killing should consider
phasing in the new process.
ConAgra spokeswoman Tania Graves said
these letters don't represent a change in policy for the
ConAgra does not plan to force its suppliers to change
slaughter methods, she added.
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