by Lee Hall

“Animal rights activists are using an insurgent tactic,” Minneapolis-St. Paul’s Star Tribune proclaimed, “to protest how turkeys are processed.”

The plan: An employee from an animal-advocacy group would go, as a stockholder, to the annual meeting of Hormel Foods Corp. in Austin, Minnesota. As in previous years, said the newspaper, the group was “imploring Hormel to adopt what it says is a less-cruel slaughter method as turkeys make their way to store shelves and kitchens around the world.”

The subject of this imploring, in a nutshell: The activist group wants Hormel to discontinue electrical stun baths and shift to the exclusive use of controlled-atmosphere killing. The latter method kills birds by putting them into a chamber containing nitrogen or argon, possibly mixed with CO2, to cut off their oxygen supply. The group has, in the past, offered to drop the shareholder resolution if Temple Grandin, a slaughter plant design expert, would be allowed to inspect Hormel’s sites to certify they were using a gas technique.

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