New York Times Releases Devastating Mercy For Animals Footage in New Opinion Video

Today, the New York Times released a new opinion video featuring devastating footage from Mercy For Animals. Captured inside an industrial chicken farm, the footage reveals chickens bred to grow so large so fast they can barely stand, birds forced to live alongside their dead neighbors, and more.

This video is one in a three-part series that examines how our food system impacts animals, people, and the planet—and exposes the terrible truth of what chickens experience at factory farms. Mercy For Animals president Leah Garcés said in a statement:

The cruelty that we documented isn’t a matter of one farm failing to meet industry standards. This is a matter of industry standards allowing for blatant animal suffering. Mercy For Animals is calling on retailers to adopt meaningful chicken welfare guidelines for its suppliers to prevent the horrific suffering documented in this footage.

The never-before-seen footage shows tens of thousands of birds crammed into filthy sheds. The birds have been selectively bred to grow too large too fast—a common practice for birds at factory farms. Because of this, some chickens sit for long periods on waste-soaked litter, their legs unable to support the weight of their bodies. Besides developing painful sores and rashes from sitting on the filthy floor, many of these birds cannot reach food and water on their own.

Some birds don’t live long enough to make it to slaughter, often because their organs cannot support their fast and massive growth. Dead chickens routinely go unnoticed and remain in the barns alongside the living.

When the birds are only about six weeks old, trucks collect most of those who are still alive. Some chickens are left behind, either because they are too small or because their severely injured legs won’t fit the slaughter machines. These birds are left to wander the empty barn until the farmer must kill them to make room for the next shipment of chicks.

Chickens should be free to roam in the sun, dustbathe, and enjoy their lives. Instead, many endure unimaginable suffering until they are slaughtered—all for cheap chicken. Mercy For Animals is demanding change from retailers and has launched a new campaign, Life of Chickens, to expose the chicken industry’s widespread abuse and help compassionate shoppers take action.

Help ensure that grocery stores like Target, ALDI, and Winn-Dixie reduce suffering for chickens in their supply chains! Take action here. You can also make a huge difference for animals by choosing delicious plant-based foods. Download our free veg starter guide to learn more.