United Poultry Concerns March 15, 2006

Poultry Industry Experimenters Promote Fire-Fighting Foam as a “Humane” Method of Mass Extermination of Chickens Used in Meat Production, Calling It a Form of “Euthanasia”

The term “euthanasia,” meaning a merciful death, has become a standard synonym in the animal production industries for killing animals by any means regardless of how cruel. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has facilitated misuse and degradation of the term euthanasia. When the word appears in agribusiness and experimental research discourse, it’s likely to be a cover for the infliction of a horrible death on animals, as in the case below. – UPC Editor  

Poultry scientists report ongoing experimental projects of exterminating large flocks of “broiler” chickens using fire-fighting foam “enriched” with carbon dioxide as a method of controlling transmittable diseases in the chicken houses such as Avian Influenza and Exotic Newcastle Disease. Claiming a need for rapid on-site mass euthanasia [sic], experimenters  reported in the Aug. 2, 2005 Poultry Science Association Abstracts a pilot study to test a new “emergency euthanasia concept.”

“An experimental method for emergency euthanasia of infected poultry is being developed using fire fighting foam. This method covers birds in a protective blanket of high expansion foam enriched with carbon dioxide. In three experimental trials, the method has been shown to provide effective euthanasia. The foam with varying concentrations of carbon dioxide was directly compared to a currently used industry technique of overlapping layers of polyethylene to cover birds and gassing with carbon dioxide. The foam and polyethylene methods resulted in euthanasia in less than three minutes. . . . On-going research is designed to evaluate the humane aspects of this procedure and develop the equipment for commercial application. Additional technical details of this patent-pending process will be reported in subsequent presentations.”

“Fire Fighting Foam as an Alternative Method of Mass Euthanasia for Meat-Type Poultry Flocks”  http://www.poultryscience.org/psa05/abstracts/psabs60.pdf

In “Evaluating the Use of Fire Fighting Foam in Mass Poultry Euthanasia,” American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers-funded experimenters (the same team as above) state that the current control method of many highly pathogenic avian diseases is “euthanasia.” This method is “the industry accepted CO2 polyethylene bagging euthanasia method for euthanization of entire houses of broiler birds.” Current methods of exterminating thousands of birds at a time are said to be too labor intensive, requiring “a significant number of people be involved in the process” (10-20 people). The goal of the fire-fighting foam experiments is therefore said “to provide a more humane, less labor intensive (1 or 2 people), cost efficient and biosecure alternative” to “conventional CO2 polyethylene bagging.” http://asae.frymulti.com/abstract.asp?aid=19470&t=2

See also “Udel’s Lasher Lab to Help Poultry Growers Cut Expenses,” American Farm, Jan.10, 2006. http://www.americanfarm.com/Poultry1.10.2006a.html

For information on the experience of death by carbon dioxide (CO2), see: “Poultry Stunning and Slaughter Seminar, Dec. 6, 2004”: http://www.upc-online.org/slaughter/10505drraj.htm

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