The Guardian reports that the closure of meat plants due to coronavirus has led to a ‘depopulation’ of hens and pigs, despite unprecedented demand at food banks.
More than 10 million hens are estimated to have been culled due to Covid-19 related slaughterhouse shutdowns. The majority will have been smothered by a water-based foam, similar to fire-fighting foam, a method that animal welfare groups are calling “inhumane”.
The pork industry has warned that more than 10 million pigs could be culled by September for the same reason. The techniques used to cull pigs include gassing, shooting, anaesthetic overdose, or “blunt force trauma”.
In “constrained circumstances”, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), techniques might also include a combination of shutting down pig barn ventilator systems with the addition of CO2 so the animals suffocate.
The ‘depopulation’ comes despite food banks across the US reporting unprecedented demand and widespread hunger during the pandemic, with six-mile-long queues for aid forming at some newly set up distribution centres.