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A deep dive into chicken labels: Criteria

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REPORT BY CRITERIA
   -Prudent antibiotic use
   -Prohibits growth hormones
   -Prohibits animal byproducts in the diet
   -GMOs in feed
   -Prohibits synthetic pesticides/ fertilizers in feed production
   -Prohibits synthetic amino acids
   -Limit on rapid weight gain
   -Outdoor access
   -Indoor enrichment
   -Indoor space
   -Air quality
   -Artificial light and darkness
   -Catching and crating
   -Transport time limit
   -Natural v. dim light
   -Slaughter treatment
   -Slaughter line speed
REPORT BY LABEL
FULL REPORT: ALL CRITERIA AND LABELS

Slaughter treatment

Chickens are not covered under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which grants very minimal protections during the slaughter process for cattle, hogs and sheep.

At the slaughter plant, the poultry industry's norm is to hang the chickens upside-down in shackles by their legs. The shackled chickens are then stunned, which immobilizes them before they are killed with an automated knife. However, birds are often not properly stunned; an estimated 180 million birds are improperly stunned in slaughterhouses each year.

Slaughter treatment : Criteria key

industry baseline

minor standards to reduce stress and injury in the slaughterhouse; standards encourage a worker to check that all birds are properly stunned prior to slaughter but this is not a requirement.

standards to reduce stress and injury in the slaughterhouse. A worker is required to check that all birds are properly stunned prior to slaughter.

extensive standards to ensure birds are treated humanely in the slaughterhouse. Standards prohibit shackling. Standards encourage the use of controlled atmospheric killing (CAK) in which chickens remain in their crates and oxygen is slowly replaced by a gas that kills the chickens.



Slaughter treatment : How labels stack up against criteria

CHICKEN LABELS REPORT - Criteria: Slaughter treatment
Label Slaughter treatment How label stacks up against criteria
Conventional

American Humane Association Certified

Standards focus on worker training; standards to minimize pain and stress when shackled and prior to stunning, shackling for no more than 90 seconds before stunning.
Animal Welfare Approved

on-farm slaughter is encouraged; Controlled Atmosphere Killing (CAK) is encouraged; standards to minimize pain and stress; shackling is prohibited
Certified Humane

standards to minimize pain and stress when shackled and prior to stunning, shackling for no more than 90 seconds before stunning; birds must be checked when leaving the stunner to ensure they are adequate stunned
Certified Naturally Grown

Demeter Biodynamic

animals must be "handled in a way that reduces fear and stress"; animals must be effectively stunned
Food Alliance

there are no slaughter standards
Free Range

GAP Step 1

There are no slaughter standards
GAP Step 2

There are no slaughter standards
GAP Step 3

There are no slaughter standards
GAP Step 4

There are no slaughter standards
GAP Step 5

There are no slaughter standards
GAP Step 5+

There are no slaughter standards
Natural or All Natural

No antibiotics administered

USDA Organic

Vegetarian Fed or No Animal By-Products

Humanely Raised

No growth hormones

Kosher

requirement that a "razor-sharp" blade be used to minimize pain to the animal
USDA Process Verified - Never Ever 3

USDA Process Verified - Humanely Raised (National Chicken Council Welfare Standards)

up to 2% can be improperly stunned
Non-GMO Project Verified


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