Fresh Ideas, Growing Together

Benefits of Modular Loading FAQs

Why is the Ontario industry transitioning to modular loading?
The Ontario chicken industry is currently transitioning to modular loading in response to heightened public expectations regarding animal welfare.

Are any Ontario processors currently using modular loading?
Two Ontario processors are currently using modular loading – Farm Fresh Poultry and Maple Lodge (for end-of-lay poultry). Farm Fresh began using modular loading for broilers in May of 2016. Maple Lodge implemented the system for end-of-lay poultry in February of 2012. Two other processors (Cargill and Maple Lodge) will implement modular loading systems in 2018.

What are the benefits of modular loading at the farm?
Modular loading enhances responsible animal welfare practices, worker occupational health and safety, industry-wide efficiencies and supports profitable, consistent growth. More specifically, the welfare benefits include reduced handling of birds, shorter loading time, reduced exposure to weather conditions and lower incidence of bruising. Workplace health and safety benefits include enhanced worker comfort and safety due to loading inside the barn and reduced walking, carrying and lifting activities for catchers. More importantly, a forklift is used to load the modules on the trailer, thus eliminating the risk of catchers falling from heights when loading the trailers.

What are the benefits of modular loading at the processing plant?
Modular loading systems also have significant welfare benefits at the processing plant. In most cases, modular loading systems are coupled with Controlled Atmospheric Stunning (CAS) or gas stunning at the processing plant. Gas stunning renders the birds insensible prior to shackling thus it is more humane than the live shackling of birds that accompanies electrical stunning. Electrical stunning may also result in inconsistent stunning outcomes due to variation in bird size, an issue that is not encountered with gas stunning. Additionally, trailers loaded with modules allow for more air flow than crates, thus birds are more comfortable during lairage at the plant when weather conditions are hot. When modular loading systems are coupled with gas stunning, the live birds are only handled once from catching to shackling. In addition to the obvious welfare benefits, food safety and meat quality are also improved.