Groups push for more humane slaughter of chickens

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Two animal welfare groups and dozens of lawmakers are urging the Obama administration to improve humane treatment of poultry at slaughterhouses, citing statistics that show hundreds of thousands of chickens being accidentally dropped alive into scalding tanks every year.

The Animal Welfare Institute and Farm Sanctuary have petitioned the Department of Agriculture to strengthen humane treatment regulations by banning live birds from the scalding tanks.

When things go according to plan, birds are already dead by the time they're dropped into the tank, but a small percentage miss the automatic slaughtering knife and wind up dying in the tank.

The Food Safety Inspection Service stresses, however, that the number of birds who die that way represents a tiny fraction of the billions of chickens slaughtered every year.

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