The Meat Site reports that new research from the Netherlands indicates that a method involving several stages of carbon dioxide can offer reliable and effective stunning of chickens.
As an alternative to water bath electrocution stunning, the Netherlands has moved in the direction of multi-stage gassing of birds which research claims reduces convulsions and other signs of conscious distress during the stunning process. In the end, it’s a more efficient, less labor-intensive form of mass extermination that can even be marketed as “humane.”
While a utilitarian might make a valid case for why we should do whatever we can to reduce the suffering of animals right now, such a position ignores the deeper, more menacing and sociopathic disease that plagues our predator society. There will be no paradigm shift in the way humans cause themselves and other animals to suffer if our sole focus is alleviating the symptoms of the disease, rather than treating the cause.
How does this disease manifest itself? Imagine what’s going through the minds of the researchers who hook up the chickens used in their research study to electrodes that measure levels of heart and brain function, and look for severity of convulsions, as they deliver varying doses of poison gas. As they extinguish the precious life from these birds, what belief system assures them that their occupation is a respectable one?
Such questions that we as people who care about animals raise are most likely not part of the conscious thought processes of the researchers or the industry to which they belong. Their work embodies the very normalization of animal suffering. Our power as advocates is in our questioning rather than in our telling. By asking the right questions and rejecting the conventional rationalizations, we question the underlying belief systems that perpetuates this disease, and we lead society to discover unconventional answers that might lead to a cure.