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Working on welfare with ATLAS and CAS

Working on welfare with ATLAS and CAS

Helping to reduce the stress in animals that are part of the supply chain is a humane approach and many poultry companies are starting to take note. Animal well-being extends beyond the farm and is a top priority. A humane approach can result in operations that are more efficient, better end-product quality and higher consumer satisfaction.

Source: Meat & Poultry

Controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) is a technology designed to lower stress in animals before evisceration. Birds are transported in crate into an area where the oxygen is removed from their immediate surroundings and replaced with an asphyxiant gas or carbon dioxide.

Our new CAS system will help reduce handling stress with chickens, resulting in a higher-quality, more consistent product

Claudecir Pagnussatto, general manager Cargill, London, Canada


The  atmosphere stunning technique is an example of how equipment can help solve challenges and issues on the line, according to Temple Grandin, Ph.D., professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University, and an authority in livestock handling subjects.

There are various advantages to atmosphere stunning, from both an animal well-being and operational standpoint. “It’s very stressful hanging chicken on the line, and you also have to make sure that people aren’t abusing chickens. Now, with controlled atmosphere stunning, the birds come in the transport container and stay in there,” Grandin says. “It’s a much better working environment for employees.” A CAS system also offers benefits to the processors. It can be implemented relatively easily at the farm and/or plant without negatively affecting line speeds.


Tim van Schaik, product manager for Marel Poultry says, “We definitely have seen a shift in priorities with regards to animal well-being over the last few years, especially with customers who are connected and/or suppliers to national food service brands as well as high-end products, such as organic or antibiotic-free product. We feel that the general public, and of course NGOs, are becoming more and more aware of animal well-being.”


According to van Schaik, Marel Poultry introduced its ATLAS live bird handling system in the US market last fall while introducing it into the European market fall of 2016. ATLAS includes a SmartStack module that provides more space to each bird and increased loading capacity for fewer truck movements and less CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, Marel’s CAS SmoothFlow uses a mixture of CO2 and O2 in a multiphase anesthetization process, in a single straight horizontal line. “This smooth flow virtually enables an even more controlled atmosphere during the process of stunning, ensuring the best possible end-product quality. Stunned broilers leave the system still maintaining their physiological functions,” he explains, adding that the straight in-line setup is also a continuous process that assigns the same anesthetization time and atmosphere level to every single broiler.



In February 2018, Perdue Farms announced an investment of more than $15 million at its Milford, Delaware, poultry plant on a CAS system, in addition to a live bird handling process that will be the first of its kind in the US. Perdue has committed to converting all its poultry processing plants to CAS systems to replace...

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