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Franken-Chickens Growing Six Times Faster Than a Century Ago

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A shocking new animated graph created by Counting Animals illustrates the unnatural rate at which chickens grow on today’s factory farms.

Back in 1920, a chicken raised on a farm was slaughtered at 112 days. At that time, a chicken weighed about 2.2 pounds. Flash forward almost 100 years to 2013. Today, chickens are slaughtered at just 47 days and weigh a whopping 5.89 pounds–over six times their natural weight. Just picture the human equivalent: a child raised to weigh 500 pounds by age 10!
The average age and the average live weight of chickens at slaughter since 1920. Data sources include USDA Poultry Slaughter Reports, National Chicken Council, Commercial Chicken Meat and Egg Production (2002) and Handbook of Poultry and Egg Statistics (1937).
Selective breeding, as well as antibiotics and hormones, are largely responsible for this disturbing trend in chicken farming, which can lead to a host of health issues for the birds.

On modern farms, chickens suffer from lameness and skeletal disorders, including legs that bow in or out, because of their accelerated growth rate. Additionally, many chickens show signs of discomfort and sickness even without these specific health issues. The book “Animal Factory” quotes chicken farmer Carole Morison: “[A]fter about five weeks, they are just too darn big to walk or even get up. So they just sit there.”

With over eight billion chickens slaughtered in the U.S. per year and no federal laws to protect them, it’s hard to imagine any animal that suffers more greatly. Thankfully, we can all take a stand against this egregious cruelty each time we sit down to eat. Transitioning to a compassionate vegan diet is easy and delicious. For tips and recipes, visit ChooseVeg.com.