Controlled Atmosphere Killing
Controlled atmosphere killing (CAK) is a method for slaughtering animals
Animal slaughter
Slaughter is the term used to describe the killing and butchering of animals, usually for food. Commonly it refers to killing and butchering of domestic livestock ....

 such as chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

s by placing the animals in a container in which the atmosphere lacks oxygen and consists of one or more of argon
Argon is a chemical element represented by the symbol Ar. Argon has atomic number 18 and is the third element in group 18 of the periodic table . Argon is the third most common gas in the Earth's atmosphere, at 0.93%, making it more common than carbon dioxide...

, nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

 or carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

, causing the animals to lose consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

. Argon and nitrogen are important components of a gassing process which seem to cause no pain
Pain is an unpleasant sensation often caused by intense or damaging stimuli such as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting iodine on a cut, and bumping the "funny bone."...

, and for this reason many consider it more humane than other methods of killing.

Portable units are available. Controlled atmosphere stunning has been used both within processing plants and on-farm for euthanizing poultry. One portable unit type that costs can be pushed down the aisles of a barn, with 200–250 hens per load being placed inside a enriched chamber. Hens are unconscious within 20 seconds of being in the chamber.

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