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Consumer Perspectives On Poultry Stunning Methods

Christine Morrissey April 5, 2012 Final Examination

Christine Morrisseys Background


Graduate Student (Masters of Science in Poultry Science) Owner of CM Allied Solutions (Auditing & Marketing) UEP Egg Producer Work Experience Specialty Egg Producer Work Experience UC Berkeley Undergraduate Degree (Political Science) Long-time California Resident

Introduction
Since the 1980s, alternative methods to conventional poultry slaughter have been explored and developed in Europe. Moving away from the conventional electrical stunning methods, ten percent of live poultry are currently processed using controlled atmosphere stunning/killing (CAS/CAK) technologies in the European Union.

Research Introduction
A limited number of U.S. poultry producers have adopted controlled atmosphere stunning /killing technologies in recent years. Special interest groups are calling for further investigation into the benefits and limitations of CAS/CAK systems for use in the U.S. Among the elements that need to be examined are consumer perception, worker safety, product quality, animal welfare issues, food safety and price.

U.S. Processors & CAS Methods


What processors currently use stunning methods?

U.S. Retail Demand for CAS Processed Poultry


What retailers encourage the use of CAS technology?

Site Visit to Dakota Provisions

The South Dakota-based company processes 18,000 - 21,000 turkey toms per day. Before bleed-out, approximately 40 - 45 birds enter a three-part chamber for gas stunning for three minutes. The three-part chamber administers a mixture of liquid carbon dioxide, oxygen and misted water.

Research Introduction
The stunning of poultry (including chickens and turkeys) before slaughter is a fundamental practice used at poultry processing facilities in the United States. Yet little is known about the level of knowledge and opinions among chicken consumers on current poultry stunning methods.

Research Objective
The main objective of this study was to determine consumer preference of chicken meat produced through various stunning methods.

Research Method
Through Zoomerang, an online survey software program, a participant pool of 371 primary household shoppers and chicken consumers across the country completed a 31question survey. The participating consumers (18 years and older/Female & Male/All Ethnicities) provided meaningful feedback regarding specific stunning methods.

Survey Questions

Survey Statement on Poultry Stunning


The stunning of poultry (including chickens and turkeys) before slaughter is a fundamental practice used at poultry processing facilities in the United States. Prior to slaughter, this practice is administered to render birds unconscious and insensible to pain. The following terms are related to the next set of questions regarding poultry stunning: Electrical Stunning Method: This method stuns the live bird with low voltage electricity while the bird is hung upside on shackles at the processing plant. The birds' head enters a electrified salt water bath to render to the bird unconscious prior to slaughter. Gas Stunning Method: This method utilitizes a gas or gas mixture to render birds unconscious prior to slaughter. The gas or gas mixture is introduced the live birds while they are loaded in the transportation crates at the processing plant, before hanging and subsequent slaughter.

Areas of Consumer Evaluation Regarding Stunning

Animal Welfare & Stunning

Food Safety & Stunning

Product Quality & Stunning

Product Price & Stunning

Worker Safety & Stunning

General Preference for Stunning

Deeper Understanding of Poultry Stunning

Consumer Purchasing Preferences

Consumer Purchasing Preferences

Consumer Purchasing Preferences

Correlations: Gender & Animal Welfare


Female Male

Correlations: Gender & Product Quality


Female Male

Correlations: Frequent Supermarket Shoppers & Electrical Stunning

Correlations: Frequent Farmers Market Shoppers & Gas Stunning

Correlations: Humane Care & Gas Stunning

Animal Welfare/Stunning Responses

Further Investigation
I Do Not Know Stunning Responses No Further Information Stunning Responses Consumer confidence in the poultry industrys processing techniques

Conclusion
The results of the consumer-focused evaluation of stunning methods allows poultry producers to make informed decisions about the implementation and marketing of future practices and technologies in response to preferences and feedback.