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Dean Foods initiates gas stunning for older chickens

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  • Virgil
    This is what I have been fighting so hard to get implemented. Hey Ed, why won t Tyson even consider doing this? Sounds like a win-win situation for all
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2004
      This is what I have been fighting so hard to get implemented. Hey
      Ed, why won't Tyson even consider doing this? Sounds like a win-win
      situation for all concerned. I know that all of the workers I have
      talked to that work at the Grannis plant are in full agreement that
      this is a good idea. In fact, they got quite excited about the
      idea. Would you care to enlighten us as to why the industry,
      specifically Tyson, is not embracing this technology?

      U.K. Processor Deans Foods Takes a New Step in its Animal Welfare
      Meat News, September 1, 2004

      Deans Foods, one of the largest processors of spent hens and breeders
      in the United Kingdom, has taken a major step forward in its welfare
      program by becoming the first plant in the world to introduce
      controlled atmosphere stunning for spent hens and breeders at its
      plant at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom.

      The plant, which processes more than 7,000 birds per hour already has
      a well-known welfare record and operates as an RSPCA Freedom Food
      approved poultry hauler and abattoir. Deans has now chosen nitrogen-
      based controlled atmosphere stunning equipment from Anglia Autoflow
      joining a group of major chicken and turkey processors now using the
      system. In its particular application Deans opted for the Nitrogen /
      Argon based system.

      "Without a doubt the single most important factor to us in buying the
      Anglia Autoflow CAS system is that it is the most welfare friendly
      system of stunning poultry available" Mark Gaskin, divisional
      director at Deans Foods, said. Both the RSPCA and the Humane
      Slaughter Association have inspected the system and have given their

      "We are also very impressed with the improved staff working
      conditions and the dramatic change in meat quality," Gaskin said. "We
      aimed for a certain level, but the actual results have far exceeded
      our expectations."

      The processing of spent hens and breeders has always been a
      challenging task, as the birds tend to be more "flighty" and "lively"
      than broilers. This was of particular concern at the hanging on
      stage, where the birds seem to suffer additional stress before being

      With a CAS system, live bird handling finishes on farm, eliminating
      this problem. Nitrogen based CAS also has many processing benefits
      over traditional stunning, and processors can expect to see dramatic
      improvements in meat quality plus cost savings throughout the initial
      stages of the process.

      Terry Fowler, a Deans Foods plant manager, said: "The introduction of
      CAS has helped our ability to control staff welfare, and makes
      working overtime and weekends far more acceptable to them. On the
      meat side, bruising and bone damage arising from hanging on are now a
      thing of the past. And the difference in the quality of the breast
      meat really has to be seen to be believed. We can now de-bone hens on
      line, maturing in just two hours rather than the 24 hours that we
      used to."

      Karl Brown, a sales manager for Anglia Autoflow, said: "Deans Foods
      represented another first for Anglia Autoflow – a welfare friendly
      system of processing spent hens and breeders. Deans installed the
      Easyload system a number of years ago, and the introduction of CAS is
      a natural progression. We're also pleased that the major retailers
      see the introduction of CAS as a major step forward in meat quality
      and in a more welfare friendly produced product."
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