Chickens' Stress-Free Death Comes with Higher Price Tag

Chicken producers have developed a more humane—and expensive—method of slaughter

It's not a topic that anyone likes to think about, but for every plate of chicken Parmesan or fried chicken that you eat, a living and breathing animal had to die. And while the food industry has increased its production of organic, free-range, cage-free and antibiotic-free chickens, it hasn't done much to improve upon inhumane methods of slaughter—until now.

Two large chicken producers—Bell & Evans in Pennsylvania and Mary’s Chickens in California—have come up with a more humane way of killing their birds. According to a New York Times article titled "New Way to Help Chickens Cross to Other Side," carbon dioxide lulls chickens to sleep before they are hung upside-down to have their throats slit, leaving them to bleed to death. Bell & Evans and Mary's Chickens say this is a "stress-free" method of slaughter, and an improvement upon conventional methods.

Though the chicken may have died a gentler death, its packaging might turn off buyers who read the term "sedation stunning" printed on the label. Also hard to swallow is the inevitably higher price of the chicken, due to expensive gassing technology. Companies are paying $3 million to convert their facilities, meaning stress-free chicken will come at a cost.

The idea of humane slaughter is appealing, but will shoppers be willing to pay a higher price for a label that reminds us of such an unpleasant topic?

What's your reaction to this issue? Chime in below!

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