Earlier this month, Mercy For Animals in Brazil released a new investigation exposing the heartbreaking conditions endured by chickens raised for meat. French television series Capital, Yahoo France, and several other European media outlets shared the never-before-seen footage with their audiences.
The investigation took place at three Brazilian farms, all of which raise animals for slaughterhouses permitted to export to the European Union. Footage from these farms reveals thousands of birds crammed together in massive sheds. With barely room to move and almost nothing to stimulate them, the birds are unable to express many of their natural behaviors. They are also forced to live in their waste and crusty litter, with many suffering scratches and burns.
These chickens not only endure appalling conditions but have been bred to grow unnaturally fast. Today, it takes an average of just 42 days for a chicken to hatch, grow, and be killed in the meat industry. In the 1920s, chickens were slaughtered at 112 days old and weighed around two pounds. Now, after just a few weeks, they weigh over seven pounds!
This unnatural growth has a profound effect on the chickens’ bodies. Many birds suffer from splayed or swollen legs. Some are unable to stand or walk and end up dying from dehydration because they cannot even move to drink. In the video, a worker says they have to “throw away” the birds with splayed legs because they can no longer reach water.
Because chickens are such small animals, many more of them need to be killed to get the same amount of meat as from larger animals. More than six billion chickens are killed for food each year in Brazil alone. In the United States, it’s more than nine billion.
Chickens are incredibly intelligent individuals with the same capacity to feel pain and suffering as the dogs and cats who share our homes. Stand up for chickens, and help promote a less violent, more compassionate, and more sustainable world by choosing plant-based foods. Start today!