We’re setting the new standard for farm animal welfare

Even if you don’t read The New York Times, by now you’ve probably heard that we are again moving ‘ahead of the curve’… this time in farm animal welfare, by revolutionizing the way we begin to process our birds.

I was interviewed by The New York Times for their Oct. 22 front page article, New Way to Help Chickens Cross to Other Side, that focused on our new slow induction anesthesia system, which uses a CO2 gas to gently put the birds to sleep before they are processed.

To really understand why our new process is so important, you have to know a little about how live chickens are processed. The chickens are brought to a dimly lit area where workers pick them up by their legs and hang them upside down. A conveyor carries the birds to a unit that uses a mild electric shock to make them unconscious, and then to a machine that kills them.

Our new system is a gentle, stress-free, and much more humane way to process chickens. It works on the birds in the same way anesthesia works on a person before going into surgery. There’s no stress or panicked wing flapping that can injure the birds or our workers.

I’ve been researching the best way to do this and for the past 15 years. I’ve toured many European processing plants and analyzed their controlled-atmosphere stunning systems. I believe the custom-built system we’ve developed is much better. Their systems are designed to kill the birds, not put them to sleep. They can cut-off the birds of oxygen too quickly, which may cause them to suffer.

Earlier this year, Monica and I spent my birthday in Colorado and met with Temple Grandin. As a leading authority in livestock handling facilities, I wanted to get her input before we started construction. After showing her videos of the process and discussing our plans, she agreed, “This will be a big step forward for chicken welfare.”

For the last year, we have worked closely with PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) on this project. Although they would like everyone to be vegan, even they recognize it’s not going to happen. However, they share our compassion for farm animal welfare, and PETA applauds our efforts to raise our chickens with the best quality of life.

In my next entry, I’ll talk more about how this $3 million upgrade to our process will result in higher quality meat for your dinner table.

5 thoughts on “We’re setting the new standard for farm animal welfare

  1. Bravo!!! It is a wonderful thing you are doing. You are a shining example and I hope that others follow your lead. This will end a great deal of suffering and all because you took the time to get informed and have a heart. I have already spread the word to my family and friends who also care about the humane treatment of animals. Thank you so much!

  2. I want to send along my sincere thanks to you and your team for adopting this new process. I make efforts in all my food purchasing to find the best choices both in terms of animal treatment as well as environmental impact.

    I was always a fan of your chicken and ready to bake products, but now you have won my undivided loyalty with this move to the new system.

    My only wish, you would be in more restaurants and locales and unseat those who are not making this move.


  3. Just a simple thanks. Just bought some of your duck breasts at Whole Foods and enjoyed a terrific dinner. It truly makes a difference to know the animals we eat were raised naturally and treated kindly even in their slaughter. My grandfather was a German immigrant who came to farm in upstate New York in the 1920′s. My retirement dream is to start a small homestead where I can grow most of my own food.

  4. I found you product by chance but I was glad I did, my granddaughter was just DX with Celiac Disease and I have been out of my mind to find foods she will eat because she is ADHD also. I wasn’t sure when I picked up your gluten free tenders what the outcome would be. Low and Behold she loved them and asked for more.
    We take so much for granted when we buy food, who would ever think that almost everything we put in our bodies are basically killing us. It took me till now that I am actually forced to read the labels of food products it scares me especially when I can’t even pronounce the names of these chemicals.

    I commend you for taking the time and the effort to change the way people look at food and the way you feed your livestock so that they remain as healthy as we will.

  5. I am so happy to find your website. I am in the process of developing my own self sufficient raw dog food for my boxer dogs. I am supplying all my own meat and starting the meats from babies and raising them up myself so I know what they ate and how they were treated. I have chicken, quail, rabbit, duck, and getting turkey. I am trying to find your recipe/portions for the oregano oil/cinnamon mix that you put into your chicken food. I am so thankful for your knowledge. Thank you for all you do!

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