Chicken

Chickens are among the most abused animals in our food industry. There are very few laws in place that protect them. With red meat becoming less popular, the demand for chicken and turkey is growing. Chickens exploited for their meat are called "broilers".

"Broiler" Chicks Delivery

Every year, more than 9 billion chickens are raised and killed for meat in the United States. They start out their lives being born in incubator drawers at a chicken hatchery and are delivered to the broiler houses.


Baskets of day-old chicks delivered to a broiler house.


Chick being "debeaked".

"Debeaking"

Shortly after being born, the ends of their beaks are cut off, which is known as "debeaking".

Genetic Alterations

Broiler chickens are genetically altered to grow a lot faster and produce more meat. These genetic alterations causes serious health problems for the animals. Their legs have trouble supporting their heavy bodies and their underdeveloped heart and lungs frequently result in congestive heart failure.


Broiler chickens.


Chickens raised for meat in a "grower house".

Grower Houses

During their short lives they have to live in huge sheds called "grower houses", which only give them about half a square foot of space. Artificial lighting is used to manipulate the birds into eating as often as possible.

Transportation

Chickens are transported to the slaughterhouse in crates stacked on the backs of trucks. While being transported, the chickens are not protected against the heat or cold. Some of them die by either freezing to death in the winter or from suffocation in the summer.

When the chickens arrive at the slaughterhouse in their crates, they are either pulled from their crates or dumped by cranes onto conveyer belts. Some chickens fall off the conveyer belts and are usually left to die.


Chicken transportation.


Chicken slaughter.

Slaughterhouse

"Broiler" chickens are usually slaughtered when they are just 6 weeks old. Thousands of chickens are killed each hour at slaughterhouses.

At the slaughterhouse, fully conscious chickens are hung by their feet from shackles on a moving rail. Poultry is excluded from the Humane Slaughter Act, so stunning the chickens is not mandatory. Chickens are still stunned by running them through electrified water, but these stunning procedures are not monitored. Slaughterhouses commonly use lower currents than necessary to stun the chickens. Which mean that they are still able to feel pain when their throats are slashed. And if their throats aren't properly slashed, they are still conscious when they are submerged in a scalding tank.

It is very common for chickens to still be alive when they reach the scalding tank. The industry even has a name for them: "redskins".

Copyright © 2008-2015 by Wanda Embar. All Rights Reserved. Legal/Contact Me.
Chicken: free non-commercial use. Chickens in grower house by Farm Sanctuary.
Delivery of broiler chicks: USDA public domain. Other pictures by The Animals Voice.