Live-Shackle Slaughter
What happens at slaughterhouses to chickens raised for meat?

Live-shackle slaughter, the predominant slaughter method for chickens in the United States, is one of the cruelest practices in the meat industry today.

In live-shackle slaughter, birds are shackled upside down by their legs, painfully shocked, and killed, many while still conscious.

This system benefits only the meat industry, which prioritizes speed and profits over animal and worker welfare.

Many birds miss the kill blades and drown in scalding feather-removal tanks—about 1,300 birds a day. No animal should be subjected to such cruelty.

You can help.

The Better Chicken Commitment, a set of standards that bans the worst cruelty to chickens, calls for replacing live-shackle slaughter with a less cruel alternative, controlled-atmosphere stunning. Tell the meat industry to adopt the Better Chicken Commitment and end the nightmare of live-shackle slaughter for billions of chickens each year.

A Cruel Process


Birds are forcefully hung upside down by their legs, suffering stress, pain, and difficulty breathing. Workers can get splattered with blood and feces.


Chickens have their heads dragged through electrified water meant to render them unconscious. Some are stunned improperly or miss the water.


The birds’ throats are then brutally slit by automatic blades. Many chickens are still conscious and able to feel pain.


Finally, they are dumped in the near-boiling water of the feather-removal tanks. Birds who survive the kill blades are scalded alive.

Slaughterhouses will never be cruelty-free, but we must push the meat industry to adopt the Better Chicken Commitment and replace live-shackle slaughter with less cruel controlled-atmosphere stunning (CAS).

CAS ensures that all chickens are unconscious before handling at the slaughterhouse and eliminates the need for the cruel shackling and inversion of conscious chickens.

CAS also improves conditions for slaughterhouse workers, who risk injuries, stress, and illness due to unsanitary and unsafe working conditions in live-shackle areas.

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