Agrifood firm Cargill will swap out an electric stunning system at its London, Ontario chicken processing plant in favor of a new controlled atmospheric stunning (CAS) system.
The CAS system costs $22 million and is expected to be up and running this spring. It aims to help reduce handling stress with chickens for a higher-quality and more consistent product.
According to the company, the move to the new stunning system is meant to help address the growing interest from customers and consumers for continuous improvement in humane handling of food animals.
The London plant has been in business since 1987 with a capacity to process about 80,000 chickens a day. It supplies customers across Canada.
Both electric and CAS stunning systems are approved, proven and acceptable for humane poultry harvesting, but a growing number of consumers and customers are expressing a desire for CAS systems at poultry facilities.
Animal welfare organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) have previously pressed for chicken processors to drop electrical stunning in favor of CAS systems.