Don't let your chickens read this

In case you missed Nicholas Kristof’s column in The New York Times, a new video taken by an undercover investigator for Mercy for Animals, an animal rights group, reveals that as many as 700,000 chickens die horrible, inhumane deaths each year in American slaughterhouses, mostly by scalding.

According to Kristof, Matt Rice, the director of investigations for Mercy for Animals, noted that federal rules on humane slaughter apply to cattle, hogs and sheep, but not to poultry — even though birds amount to 95 percent of farm animals killed each year in America.

Kristof tells the tale better than we can, so we will just leave you with a couple of paragraphs from his column and invite you to read the his column at nytimes.com.

“Workers grab the birds and shove their legs upside down into metal shackles on a conveyor belt. The chickens are then carried upside down to an electrified bath that is meant to knock them unconscious. The conveyor belt then carries them — at a pace of more than two chickens per second — to a circular saw that cuts open their necks so that they bleed to death before they are scalded in hot water and their feathers plucked.

Even when the system works as intended, the birds sometimes have legs or wings broken as they are shackled, the investigator said. Some chickens aren’t completely knocked out by the electric current and can be seen struggling frantically. Others avoid the circular saw somehow. A backup worker is supposed to cut the throat of those missed by the saw, but any that get by him are scalded alive, the investigator said.