US producers tackle “stunning issues” head on

Fresh initiatives have been taken by the US-based National Chicken Council (NCC) to help improve consumer understanding of broiler chicken welfare issues.

Working through its Chicken Check In resource, NCC has published information on the different methods of stunning used by the industry. It has also released a video showing a “day in the life” inside a typical chicken house.

“The stunning of chickens – rendering the birds unconscious and insensible to pain – has been the subject of considerable research and discussion,” said NCC, going on to explain to consumers that there is one primary method of stunning broilers prior to slaughter in the US, namely “electrical stunning.”

“There are also a limited number of facilities in the US that utilise a system known as “controlled atmosphere stunning.”

To cover the issue in more depth, building on its basic introduction, the Council has added a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section to Chicken Check In to deal specifically with questions about stunning. Through the new section, Dr Karen Christensen, extension poultry specialist/ associate professor at the Centre of Excellence for Poultry Science, University of Arkansas, answers FAQs on the pros and cons of each system of stunning.

NCC’ new video, meanwhile, has been added to Chicken Check In’s “Day in the Life” series. It takes viewers inside a typical chicken house to learn what a day in the life of a broiler chicken is like.

This video, called How Chickens Are Actually Raised. For Real, covers the first day chicks arrive to the farm to when they are transported to processing.

“The mission of Chicken Check In is to provide those who have questions with the level of information they want regarding the care and safety of the chicken they eat, and to feel confident in eating it,” said NCC’s senior vice president of communications, Tom Super.

“We’re committed to continuing to work to build consumer trust by inviting Americans to ask the questions they have now and in the future as they learn more about chicken production.”

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