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Welfare Group Calls for End to Live Bird Shackling

by 5m Editor
18 August 2008, at 10:51am

UK - Despite calls from the British Poultry Council last week not to speculate about the forthcoming Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) recommendations about stunning poultry, comments are being reported in the media.

The live shackling of chickens in the slaughter of hundreds of millions of the birds in Britain each year should cease, say government advisers on the welfare of farm animals, reports Caroline Davis in an article in yesterday's Observer and reported by The Guardian.

The practice, which sees chickens shackled upside down by the leg so they can be stunned in electrified water before their throats are sliced by mechanised blades, is the most common method used to kill the 850 million broilers processed annually.

The Farm Animal Welfare Council, an independent body advising the government, is to call on the poultry industry to 'vigorously' address live shackling. Details of its report on the slaughter of white meat species are to be revealed at a meeting tomorrow ahead of its publication later this year.

But council member David Henderson, retired head of the division of farms and clinical studies at the Moredun Research Institute, Edinburgh, and past president of the Sheep Veterinary Society, said, "Live shackling is something that concerns us greatly but unfortunately, it is a necessary process for water-bath electrical stunning. We would like to see the industry address this procedure more vigorously. We would like to see it done away with over a number of years."

Peter Stephenson of the animal welfare campaigning body, Compassion in World Farming, welcomed Dr Henderson's comments. "It is a pretty radical message. The council are an independent body. They are cautious and conservative with a small 'c'. So when they do say there is a serious problem, they should be taken very seriously."

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5m Editor