US poultry producer, OK Foods, will begin using a new and humane method of controlled-atmosphere stunning for poultry – Low Atmospheric Pressure System (LAPS).
The LAPS system works by reducing the oxygen level in poultry live haul cages. This reduction of oxygen causes hypoxia and a sense of euphoria similar to climbing to altitude in an airplane. LAPS is an alternative to conventional electrical stunning because birds are insensible before unloading, shackling and stunning, reducing bird stress levels and eliminating animal welfare concerns as birds are introduced to the plant.
The American Humane Association has endorsed the new method of controlled-atmosphere stunning for poultry as humane and OK is scheduled to start processing using the technology this Autumn. Research on LAPS methodology was presented by lead researcher Yvonne Vizzier Thaxton, Ph.D. at American Humane Association’s farm animal welfare Scientific Advisory Committee meeting on July 15, 2010.
Based on the scientific evidence that was presented to the committee, The American Humane Association has approved LAPS, and has now included it as one of the acceptable methods of harvesting poultry in their welfare standards.
The research on LAPS is set to be published in the Journal of Applied Poultry Research this winter.
• OK Foods