Sigrídur Ásgeirsdóttir, director of the Animal Protection Union of Iceland, has criticized the extermination of 2,500 healthy birds in a bird flu drill organized by the Agricultural Authority of Iceland on Tuesday.
“I doubt they used humanitarian methods,” Ásgeirsdóttir told Fréttabladid. “There have been many stories about how chickens are killed in chicken farms. According to animal protection law, animals should be killed with a quick and painless method, not by suffocating them with poison, I don’t like it.”
The birds, which were to be killed anyway, were exterminated with carbon dioxide (CO2). According to senior veterinarian Halldór Rúnólfsson, who participated in the drill, it is a commonly used substance.
The extermination was executed by cutting off air conditioning and then carbon dioxide was pumped into the chicken farm. After ten minutes workers clad in a special gas protection suits walked into the farm to make sure every bird was dead.
Afterwards the birds were taken from their cage, put into an air-tight container and brought to a place west of Selfoss, near the chicken farm, where they were buried.
Hens begin laying eggs when they are five to six months old and lay eggs for one or two years. When they start producing fewer eggs they are exterminated. The birds exterminated on Tuesday were old hens.