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Millions of chickens across the U.S. are being executed using cruel mass-killing methods because of an aggressive avian flu outbreak. So far, at least 57 million chickens have endured this slow, terrifying death.
These methods came under increased scrutiny in 2020 when pandemic-related working conditions created supply-chain issues and labor shortages in slaughterhouses and farms were caught engaging in “depopulation” of animals (i.e., killing them) via ventilation shutdown (VSD). In this cruel practice, ventilation fans are turned off to suffocate the animals, and “VSD Plus” incorporates heat, humidity, and/or carbon dioxide in the process—suffocating the animals and baking them to death.
Chickens are sentient animals who feel fear and pain and can suffer. Experiments funded by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, a major trade industry group, showed hens panting, thrashing, and desperately trying to escape when subjected to VSD:
VSD is a terrifying and painful method of killing animals—who can remain alive for hours afterward. And chickens are not the only animals killed by VSD methods. Pigs are sensitive, intelligent beings who deserve love and respect but are subjected to this torturous death. One U.K. study involving pigs who experienced a ventilation failure showed that animals were still alive and suffering even after 16 hours.
However, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has enabled this inhumane practice by listing VSD Plus as “permitted in constrained circumstances.”
An AVMA expert panel gave VSD further consideration but ultimately allowed this practice to continue. Please take action below by letting the AVMA know that killing animals by VSD or VSD Plus is never acceptable and urging it to disallow such killing methods in the future.