Exposed: Video of Cruel Mass Animal Killing Methods at University

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Animal Outlook exposes lethal university research studies whose experimental methods are used to gas, suffocate and ‘live-bake’ millions of farmed animals

Washington, D.C. – (April 18, 2022) – Animal Outlook released an exclusive exposé revealing the truth about Ventilation Shutdown (VSD) and Ventilation Shutdown plus (VSD+), methods of mass-killing thousands of animals at once on farms that raise animals for food. The footage, obtained by Animal Outlook through public record requests, shows researchers at North Carolina State University observing chickens in clear boxes as they used various combinations of shutting off airflow, pumping in carbon dioxide and increasing heat to test different methods of killing the birds.

The footage shows test subjects throwing their bodies against the sides of the boxes, gasping for air and struggling to escape before they collapsed and died. Many of them were attached to electrodes to measure biological data. The tragic irony is showcased in the footage as hens suffered for hours while lab workers were surrounded by fans and sipping bottles of water. 

The poultry industry trade association, U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, funded the studies. The American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) “depopulation” guidelines later cited these experiments, approving the mass-killing method. The animal agriculture industry has used VSD to kill poultry in attempts to control disease outbreaks such as avian flu, which happen frequently in the poultry industry, and to kill pigs who could not be shipped to slaughter after COVID-19 outbreaks shuttered slaughterhouses at the height of the pandemic. An investigation by another animal protection NGO, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), revealing VSD use on pigs in an Iowa farm in the summer of 2020 shocked the public, revealing pigs crying out as they were cooked to death over the course of hours, while succumbing to VSD.   

The industry is using VSD today. Millions of animals are being killed across the country due to the most recent massive avian flu outbreak, with untold numbers being suffocated and overheated by the cruel method depicted in these videos. According to the USDA, VSD has been used in several of the recent avian flu “depopulations,” including one at a Tyson facility in Stoddard, Missouri where VSD was used to kill more than 300,000 chickens being raised for meat.

“The poultry industry knew full well that slowly cooking to death and suffocating birds was cruel,” said Cheryl Leahy, Executive Director, Animal Outlook. “Yet they funded university researchers to optimize this mass-killing method so large egg facilities could cheaply kill entire flocks on a routine basis—the research helped pave the way for VSD’s approval by the AVMA.” Leahy further states, “We can now see this widespread inherent cruelty for what it really is, demand accountability under the law, and remove our support from this industry by refusing to buy animal products.”

Currently, a resolution is pending with the AVMA urging it to renounce the practice. Scores of veterinarians are outspoken in their support of the resolution. In 2020, Animal Outlook joined a number of other organizations to file an emergency petition with the USDA to end the use of these cruel practices.


Animal Outlook is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) animal advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission: Working today to build a better tomorrow for all animals. We’re strategically challenging the status quo of animal agribusiness through undercover investigations, legal advocacy, corporate and food system reform, and empowering everyone to choose vegan.