10 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Chicken

1. Chickens Bred to Lay Eggs Are Completely Different From the Ones We Eat

Egg-laying hens are bred not only to produce an unnaturally large quantity of eggs, but also to be small so that many can fit into one cage. By contrast, “meat chickens,” also known as “broilers,” are bred to grow so fast that their bones can’t even keep up, reaching market weight at just around 48 days!

2. Chicken Meat Harbors Dangerous Bacteria Like Salmonella

According to the USDA, around 25 percent of cut-up chicken meat and about 50 percent of all ground chicken sold in stores is contaminated with salmonella.

Each year, salmonella sickens more than 1 million people and results in more hospitalizations and deaths than any other foodborne illness.

3. Chickens Grow So Fast They Become Immobilized Under Their Own Weight

Chickens raised and killed for meat have been bred to grow so quickly they frequently become immobilized under their own weight and endure debilitating pain. They also suffer heart attacks, organ failure, and other problems as a result of rapid growth.

4. Chicken Farming Is Destroying the Planet

Environment America reports that Tyson, the largest poultry producer in the world, is responsible for dumping more toxic pollution into our waterways than companies like ExxonMobil and Dow Chemical.

5. Not a Single Federal Law Protects Chickens

Unfortunately, no federal law protects animals during their lives on factory farms. What’s more, the law that’s supposed to protect animals at the slaughterhouse, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, only extends to cows and pigs, leaving chickens with virtually no protection from abuse.

6. Chicken Meat Is Full of Sh*t

In 2011, the USDA reported that 90 percent of defects discovered in chicken carcasses at slaughter plants involved "visible fecal contamination that was missed by company employees."

7. Switching to Chicken Hurts More Animals

Chickens comprise 95 percent of the animals raised and killed for food in the U.S. and lead some of the most miserable lives of all farmed animals. And because chickens are much smaller animals, many more of them need to be killed to get the same poundage as other meats.

8. Chickens Are Subjected to Ruthless Slaughter

At the slaughterhouse, chickens are violently shackled upside down, painfully shocked with electricity, and cut open at the throat—often while still conscious and able to feel pain.

9. Workers Are Subjected to Terrible Conditions

Last year, an Oxfam report revealed the terrible conditions to which factory farmers expose employees. Workplace hazards include injuries, respiratory illness, and PTSD. Workers are also at risk for infection by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Just last week, it was revealed that on average, one Tyson employee a month is injured by equipment and loses a finger or limb.

10. Chickens Are Incredibly Smart

Chickens pass down knowledge from generation to generation and are able to recognize more than 100 individual faces, not only of their fellow chickens, but also of humans. They’re even capable of understanding that recently hidden objects still exist. This is beyond the capability of a two-year-old child.

Luckily, with amazing new products hitting store shelves all the time, replacing chicken with healthy and humane plant-based alternatives has never been easier!

Click here for a list of mouthwatering chicken substitutes.