Modern-day chickens at factory farms weigh around 365 percent more than their 1950s counterparts and grow at a much faster rate. They go from hatching to nearly six pounds in just 48 days. To put that into perspective, it would be like raising a 500-pound ten-year-old.
How did the chicken industry become so profoundly messed up? Let’s take a look.
In the 1950s the average “broiler” chicken, the breed raised for meat, went from hatching to a slaughter weight of 2.2 pounds in about 56 days. But to meet the demands of an ever-growing population, the factory farming industry has used a dangerous combination of genetic manipulation, antibiotics, and hormones to create today’s “Franken-chickens.”
Manipulating chickens for rapid growth has terrible consequences. By growing so fast, these poor animals often become immobilized under their own weight and endure debilitating pain. They also suffer heart attacks, organ failure, and other problems.
Because these chickens are often unable to walk, they’ve become fatter. Today’s chicken meat contains 224 percent more fat and 9 percent less protein.
Furthermore, since they’re too large to stand or walk, the birds are forced to sit in their own waste. This is one reason why chicken meat is so filthy. In fact, the USDA estimates that around 25 percent of cut-up chicken meat and about 50 percent of all ground chicken is contaminated with salmonella.
Sadly, chickens are some of the most abused animals on the planet and make up 98 percent of the animals raised and killed for food in the U.S. This is devastating since chickens are such intelligent and sensitive beings.
To make matters worse, not a single U.S. federal law protects animals during their lives at factory farms, and the law that’s supposed to protect animals at slaughterhouses, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, doesn’t extend to birds, leaving chickens with virtually no protection from abuse.
And abuse is rampant. A Mercy For Animals investigation of several Lilydale supplier farms in Canada exposed workers hitting, kicking, and throwing live birds; jamming them into overcrowded transport crates; running over them with forklifts; and ripping off their heads and legs.
See for yourself.
Raising chickens who grow so quickly isn’t just dangerous for the planet and our health; it’s downright cruel. 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.
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