04 May 2006
Compassion in World Farming Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 1730 233 904
+44 (0) 7771 926 005
Fax: +44 (0) 1730 260 791
DEFRA PROPOSES CULLING MILLIONS OF CHICKENS BY SLOW SUFFOCATION
Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) has learned that the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter and
Killing) Regulations 1995 have been amended under emergency procedure, giving the
Secretary of State emergency powers to authorise ventilation shutdown as a method of
culling poultry in the event of an outbreak of Avian Influenza.
This emergency procedure to control an avian influenza outbreak announced by DEFRA
involves sealing all apertures on poultry sheds, then shutting down the ventilation system and
leaving the birds to die slowly through oxygen depletion, overheating and the effects of Avian
DEFRA has stated that this method of culling would only be employed as a last resort.
However, ventilation shutdown is not one of the methods recognised for disease control by
the OIE (World Animal Health Organization) guidelines. This method appears to breach these
internationally agreed guidelines, by failing to ensure induction of unconsciousness is
immediate: it also fails to avoid anxiety, pain, distress and suffering.
Philip Lymbery CIWFs Chief Executive said: Compassion in World Farming believes that
death through ventilation shutdown is likely to be protracted and cause terrible suffering.
It is possible that many birds will die in shocking circumstances, and we could be faced with
scenes in which piles of dead birds culled in this fashion become a common sight
comparable to the shocking scenes at the height of the Foot and Mouth Disease crisis.
We believe that this method is potentially so inhumane that it should not be used even as a
For further information contact:
General press enquiries, images: Laurence Stephenson +44 (0)1730 237360
or +44 (0)7771 926005
Technical and policy comment: Dr Lesley Lambert +44 (0) 7881 658733
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