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PETA to Ask for Humane Slaughter of Chickens

Animal rights group PETA, which owns 55 shares of Jack in the Box, plans to present a statement on chicken slaughter methods at the food chain’s annual shareholder meeting Feb. 15.

PETA, which stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, says other fast food chains give purchasing preferences to chicken suppliers who use a more humane slaughter method known as “controlled atmosphere killing.”

Under the process, oxygen that chickens breathe is slowly replaced with inert, nonpoisonous gasses that put them to sleep. The process, PETA says, reduces labor costs and the potential for contamination.

As part of its campaign, PETA has purchased shares in more than 40 companies, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Kroger, Wal-Mart, Supervalu, Tyson Foods, and Yum! Brands (KFC’s parent company).

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A Jack in the Box spokesman called the process an emerging technology that its suppliers say is not yet commercially viable for large operators.

“It’s definitely a process that they’re looking at,” said Brian Luscomb.

San Diego-based Jack in the Box has 2,100 locations in 17 states.

“We do not deal directly with the chicken ranches, but their operations are audited,” said Luscomb. “And neither Jack in the Box nor our suppliers would tolerate abuse of any kind. We’re not aware of any mistreatment that occurs or has occurred at facilities that supplies products to our restaurants.”

According to PETA, the suppliers use a method in which birds are hung by their legs in metal shackles and dipped into an electrified bath. They are conscious when their throats are slit and many are scalded to death in de-feathering tanks, PETA says.

“Controlled-atmosphere killing will save birds from some abuses, improve working conditions, and save money for Jack in the Box,” said PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich. “Consumers care about animal welfare, so it’s in the company’s best interests to keep up with the competition by moving toward CAK.”

The presentation will be at 2 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriott, 8651 Spectrum Center Blvd.

, Ned Randolph

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