Over 82,000 Say No to Slaughtering Chickens Even Faster

December 15, 2017

factory farmed chickens

In September, a poultry-industry lobbying group called the National Chicken Council (NCC) asked the federal government to allow faster processing speeds—also called “line speeds,” due to their assembly-line nature—at commercial chicken slaughterhouses. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) currently allows chickens to be killed at a maximum rate of 140 per minute, which the ASPCA and other animal welfare, consumer safety and workers’ rights organizations feel is already dangerous and excessive. In addition to violating current federal law, NCC’s greed-driven proposal would endanger worker safety, animal welfare and consumer safety. 

The proposal faced immediate backlash, prompting USDA to open a two-month public comment period that ended Wednesday. More than 82,000 concerned members of the public, workers and allies raised their voices against faster slaughter line speeds in poultry plants, either by submitting a comment directly to USDA or by signing online petitions hosted by the ASPCA and our coalition partners, which include the Animal Welfare Institute, Compassion Over Killing, Food & Water Watch, Mercy For Animals and the National Employment Law Project.

“Faster slaughter speeds mean more suffering. Already, hundreds of thousands of birds are boiled alive unintentionally each year because rapid slaughter lines fail to kill the birds before they are dropped into scalding water,” says Deborah Press, Director of Regulatory Affairs, ASPCA Government Relations. “If USDA approves this proposal, it will sacrifice animal, worker and consumer welfare in the name of fatter poultry industry profits.”

It’s not too late to take a stand: Please join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade for updates on this and future animal-related policy battles. We need your voice!