Target: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Goal: Stop the US Department of Agriculture’s proposed rule that would result in more chickens and other birds being boiled alive in slaughterhouses.
Slaughterhouses in America rig chickens and turkeys upside down as they travel down the line. They are then stunned and their throats are slit before they drop into a giant vat of boiling water. However the Washington Post estimates that nearly a million birds are still alive when they are dropped into the water, because the line is moving too quickly for workers to keep up. And yet, a new rule proposed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) would actually increase line speeds from 140 chickens per minute to 175 chickens per minute, and from 40 turkeys per minute to 55 turkeys per minute. While economical for the slaughterhouses–who will make money off of this increase in production–this means even more birds being dropped to a painful, unnecessary death in boiling hot water. It also means it is much more difficult for a worker to spot a diseased bird and remove it from the line before it is mixed in with the other chickens that are packaged for sale.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) stated that the “USDA office failed to properly evaluate several programs and didn’t even bother to evaluate the outcome at turkey plants.” These programs are used by the USDA as evidence supporting their proposed rule, but are being called into question by the GAO. The program was only tested at five turkey plants, which is clearly not enough to determine whether it would actually be successful at a national level. Demand this rule not be passed, as it is clearly awful for both humans and animals.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
I recently learned about the USDA’s intentions to pass a rule increasing the speed of chicken and turkey lines within slaughterhouses. Beyond the danger of workers being even less able to identify diseased birds as they speed down the line, there would also be a large increase in the number of birds dropped alive into vats of boiling water meant to cleanse deceased birds.
The Washington Post estimates that nearly one million chickens and turkeys are already boiled alive with the machines at their current pace. How many more will suffer under the proposed rule?
Please do not pass the USDA’s latest proposal, as it is bad for both humans and birds.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Tomas Castelazo via Wikimedia