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McDonalds to Gas Chickens

IckI know what you’re thinking. Don’t even go there …

McDonalds is considering switching the method it uses to slaughter its chickens from electrocution to gassing. Apparently, some European suppliers are already using this method and it is the one favored by PETA. In the electrocution method, the chickens are hung up by their feet then passed through a vat of electrified water. In the gassing method, the chickens will fall into a gentle sleep as their breath is extinguished by a gas such as nitrogen or argon.

Distasteful analogies aside (Don’t go there I said!), this is simply gross. Y’all should just eat kosher and avoid the awful drekk sold at fast food joints like McDonalds. PETA plans to recommend that other restaurant chains like Wendy’s and Applebees adopt the same method. But I say crap is crap.

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Publisher at Jewlicious
Founder of Jewlicious? Publisher? Man I hate titles. I coined the name Jewlicious and I slave over the site. I live in Jerusalem and I need to get some breakfast.
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21 Comments

  1. T_M

    1/13/2005 at 7:27 pm

    So gassing = more efficient means of killing than electrocuting.

    We knew that already.

    Explain to me how gassing is less gross than, say, shechita?

  2. ck

    1/13/2005 at 8:35 pm

    Stop being so disengenuous. You know exactly where I’m NOT going with this.

    Kosher shechita serves several important functions. Although it’s complex, it is ultimately relatively simple, requiring only a trained expert and a very, very sharp blade. Gassing is a complicated procedure, requiring all sorts of equipment. It’s also not fail safe.

    Shechitah and Kashrut are also institutions that force practicing Jews, out of necessity, to stick together. These are amongst the main reasons we are able to be here and identify ourselves as Jews.

  3. Anne

    1/13/2005 at 8:38 pm

    How about skipping the chicken nuggets and ordering the veggie burger? They only have to slaughter defenseless little tofus for that. I think they ferment them to death, which doesn’t sound so bad.

  4. ck

    1/13/2005 at 9:04 pm

    How about skipping McDonalds altogether and patronizing a kosher establishment? If one isn’t nearby how about buying kosher food from your grocery store and cooking something nice and healthy at home?

  5. T_M

    1/13/2005 at 10:21 pm

    How do you know McDonalds is a place frequented by Anne, who happens to be one of the best mothers in the world? I mean, all she did was comment on your McD’s post, and very funnily, I might add, but here you are sniping at her.

    Anne, don’t let big bad CK worry you, he’s just a bit gassy tonight.

    I certainly don’t go to McDonald’s to eat. Yuck! Pfooey! Cooking at home is nice, but sometimes a meal out is very good too. Some of us have no decent kosher restaurants around.

    Which brings up the calling me disingenuous part of your comments…I was actually asking a serious question. It was an honest attempt to understand why one method is superior to another, because my sense is that they are not that far apart and perhaps gassing is superior.

    No debate from me about the institutions of kashrut.

  6. ck

    1/14/2005 at 12:38 am

    Uh … I wasn’t sniping at Anne! She suggested (to the world at large as far as I’m concerned) foregoing McNuggets. I similarly suggested foregoing McDonald’s altogether. That wasn’t an attack against her. Also, I believe Anne can defend herself should she think she’s under attack. Which she wasn’t, which might explain why she didn’t feel the need to get defensive.

    As for the gassing part, I brought it up for a reason. I won’t mention that reason though. ’nuff said.

  7. T_M

    1/14/2005 at 12:44 am

    Anne always defends me…

  8. ck

    1/14/2005 at 12:46 am

    Cuz you’re a whiney little wuss.
    😉

  9. T_M

    1/14/2005 at 12:58 am

    Oh.

    I thought it was my good looks.

  10. ck

    1/14/2005 at 1:03 am

    Oh for sure. That pic of you in the about us section does you no justice at all …

  11. Rabbi Yonah

    1/14/2005 at 2:12 am

    Of course PETA favors gassing. Humans that is.

  12. Grace

    1/14/2005 at 8:09 am

    The idea of leaving the blood in the meat makes me ill.

    It’s kosher or nothing for me.

  13. Ziva Lehava

    1/14/2005 at 8:28 am

    This is really an interesting blog (and I’m NOT going to “go there”). I wonder, though—wouldn’t the gas stay in the chicken and then get ingested………? The comments have now encouraged me to discover whether the closest kosher restaurant is three hours or four hours from me…….I’m really glad Kroger’s has some decent kosher products (no meat, but lots of great organic/tofu/veggie stuff with the happy kosher symbols—-spinach tofu lasagna rocks!—-and there’s no concern over random gas molecules floating around it).

  14. ck

    1/14/2005 at 9:11 am

    Oddly enough Ziva – you’re IP address suggests that you are 15 miles from Palestine, Illinois and 23 miles from New Lebanon, Indiana. What? You’re telling me there aren’t Jews there? Heh. Well… you may want to consider a 4 hour trip for a Kosher meal, but if you do, hit a butcher as well and pack your car full of kosher meat for the freezer. But yeah, the profusion of kosher food products available at just about any US grocery store is impressive. I mean heck, in the US even Oreos are kosher! Both Welch’s and Sun Maid make kosher grape juice (suitable for friday night kiddush) – the list goes on and on! I guess moving is not an option… oh well.

  15. patty-cake

    1/14/2005 at 12:36 pm

    Hmmm… As a chemist, I’m kind of weirded out by the “gas molecules getting ingested” comment… Not that I am in favour of that method… It says in ck’s article that they use “nitrogen or argon”. Trust me, these are not going to hurt you, especially considering they are both present in the air. 80% of air is nitrogen. The idea here is probably that you remove the oxygen from the air so you can’t get anything out of what you breathe. Not all gases are bad!

  16. fineline

    1/14/2005 at 12:47 pm

    Thank you, Ms. Cake, for pointing out that gassing with a completely harmless gas would do nothing harmful to the meat. This method of gassing, as opposed to that which is where we aren’t going, does not use a poison per se. It is more akin to suffocating. No one would really believe that suffocation would leave harmful chemicals in meat any more than the electrocution method leaves electrons in the meat and shechita leaves sharp knives in the meat. Nonetheless, I’ll stick with the kashrut.

    My understanding of the blood left after kashrut is that blood does remain in the meat. You find it there sometimes, even in glatt meat. What we drain off is the blood circulating through the major arteries–the life-blood, in a sense. This blood is what we are commanded to pour out and cover. There is no way to remove the blood from the small capillaries and such that are everywhere in the animal. Hence, we are not really draining off the blood from the meat. Sorry Grace.

  17. T_M

    1/14/2005 at 1:59 pm

    Wait a minute. Suffocation has to be more painful than shechita. Maybe CK is right after all.

  18. fineline

    1/14/2005 at 2:24 pm

    Not at all. Just think of that horrible scenario you read about in the paper…A whole family dies because someone failed to open the flu in the fireplace. The oxygen content of the air they were breathing dropped as odorless gasses such as carbon monoxide displaced it. No one noticed what was going on. They all just lost consciousness. Especially for poultry, this probably isn’t a bad way to die.

    I think that the problem is that it feels industrialized and hands off. It seems to me that if you are going to take the life of some animal, you should have to have some one-on-one time with that animal in the process. Hand slaughtering each animal and draining the blood is a sign of respect for the life taken.

  19. ck

    1/14/2005 at 2:34 pm

    Also think about it from the wandering Jew perspective… It’s easy to quickly pick up and shlepp a shochet and a knife, not so easy to move an entire gas chamber.

  20. Anne

    1/14/2005 at 6:44 pm

    All you’d need is a portable tank, like the kind scuba divers use, I suppose. Here, little chick-chick, just put on this cute little beak-shaped mask …

    Do you suppose chickens count sheep when they go to sleep? Just wondering.

    Anyway, to answer ck’s retort — I am in the process of going vegetarian, and about 75% of what I serve at home is pareve. The local Lubavitch rabbi has promised to help me kosherize whenever I’m ready, which probably won’t be until the last bag of Trader Joe’s shrimp has been dispensed with.

    What McDonald’s really needs is to be firebombed. A nice charred taste would do wonders for just about everything on the menu.

  21. Ziva Lehava

    1/15/2005 at 10:49 am

    My IP address is really really wrong. I’m nowhere near Palestine IL or New Lebanon! I think the closest kosher restaurants to me are either St. Louis or Chicago, both around 3ish hours away. I think I’m going to do a websearch, just for interest’s sake. Occasionally, the synagogue has a “deli dinner” fundraiser where we import really nice kosher stuff from Chicago, as opposed to the whole lot of pareve and dairy meals we usually have! (no kosher butchers = no kosher meat—thus, lots of vegetarian Jews!) Hmmm……now I’m not sure that knowledge is power. I’m grossed by all the methods of killing the animals now (not that I’m against eating meat)….but maybe that’s the point of keeping it personal—-so you think about what you are doing. (as has been discussed here many times). Thanks everyone.

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