If you want to know how “electric immobilization and live-hang slaughter” works, you can watch this video before reading the article:

Or, you can take the name at face value.  Workers shackle chickens upside down from a conveyer belt while the chickens are still alive and conscious, and the belt drags their heads through electrified brine water to immobilize them.  Then it slits their throats across an automated blade, or if that fails, workers manually slit their throats.  Then the conveyer belt submerges the chickens—hopefully, but not necessarily, dead—into scalding tanks to remove their feathers.

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But it isn’t just animal cruelty that makes live hang slaughter such a horrible practice.  This special form of torture requires excessive water use, both to fill water tanks and to clean after the chickens vomit and defecate from the pain.  That’s why Foster Farms’ slaughterhouse, which purchases its water from the city of Livingston, uses three to four million gallons of drinkable water each day—more than every other water user in Livingston combined.  And to make matters worse, Livingston gets its water from the Merced Subbasin, which struggles with over-drafting like much of California’s basins.

It can be difficult to take legal action to stop animal cruelty, even cruelty as egregious as live hang slaughter.  So Animal Legal Defense Fund is suing Foster Farms over its unreasonable water use, arguing that the waste of water violates California’s Constitution.  If you want to hear more from Cristina Stella, an attorney behind the case, make sure to check out her interview with Mariann Sullivan on the Animal Law Podcast.

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