SVU » Topics » Supporting Statement

This excerpt taken from the SVU DEF 14A filed May 7, 2007.

Supporting Statement

Every chicken sold by Supervalu is killed using the electric immobilization process, which involves dumping and shackling live birds, shocking them in an electrified water bath, slitting their throats, and defeathering them in tanks of scalding-hot water. Electric immobilization lowers product quality and is cruel:

 

   

Birds suffer broken bones, bruising, and hemorrhaging when they are dumped and shackled, which lowers meat quality.

 

   

Birds flap about, and many miss the stun baths entirely; those who are shocked are merely immobilized and still feel pain afterward. Many birds also miss the killing blades. This means that live birds enter the scalding tanks, which decreases yield because these birds are condemned. It also increases contamination (live birds defecate in tanks). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service, “[P]oultry products are more likely to be adulterated if they are produced from birds [who] have not been treated humanely” (70 Fed. Reg. 56624).

 

   

Workers handle live birds at every stage. Consequently, abuse has been documented at the plants of America’s top poultry suppliers—including one where workers were found stomping on live birds, spitting tobacco in their eyes, and spray-painting their faces.

CAK is USDA-approved and improves product quality, yield, and animal welfare:

 

   

With CAK, birds are placed in chambers while they are still in their transport crates, where their oxygen is replaced with inert gasses (i.e., argon and nitrogen), efficiently and gently putting them “to sleep.”

 

   

CAK improves product quality by lowering rates of broken bones, bruising, and contamination; increases shelf life by slowing down the decaying process; eliminates the possibility that conscious birds will be scalded to death (which would decrease contamination and increase yield); and eliminates the possibility of workers’ abusing the animals, since birds are dead before being handled.

 

   

Every published review of CAK—including one conducted by McDonald’s—concludes that it is superior to electric immobilization with regard to animal welfare, as do top animal welfare scientists like Dr. Temple Grandin, a world-renowned meat-industry advisor.

 

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Although CAK improves product quality and the treatment of animals—and is a matter of significant social and public policy—Supervalu has yet to show its investors what it is doing to pursue it. Clearly, it is in the Company’s best interests that shareholders vote for this resolution.

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