While red meat consumption declines, more chickens are being
eaten than ever before. Sadly, some people believe that white
meat is somehow healthy. They are wrong. Chicken meat clots
arteries, triggers cancers and is one of the biggest causes
of food poisoning in the world. And chicken farming is outright
Chicks are kept in sheds called broiler houses where up to
50,000 birds are crammed with less than 600cm2 of space per
bird (about the space of a computer screen). The floor is concrete
and laid with sawdust, wood shavings or chopped straw but soon
becomes covered with the animals' excrement. The filth may
attract rats and flies bringing disease and because the birds
are forced to spend their entire lives standing in their own
droppings, they are in terrible pain from hock burns (burns
to their feet and legs), breast blisters and ulcerated feet.
(Think how sore a small mouth ulcer is and then imagine having
ulcers all over your feet.) The windowless sheds are artificially
lit for 23_ hours a day. This deters the chicks from sleeping
and instead makes them eat more. A fat bird means more money.
And money is used to excuse all sorts of cruel and sickening
things that humans do to animals and even their own kind.
Broiler chickens are ready for slaughter at 1.8kg live weight
in 42 days, half the time it once took. They go to death with
the bodies of adult chickens and the blue eyes and high pitched
'cheep' of little chicks. The birds grow abnormally fast because
they are fed growth promoters and are selectively bred to do
The result is that the bones of many break under their ballooning
weight and their hearts are frequently unable to cope. The
Agricultural and Food Research Council (which supports factory
farming) state that up to four fifths of broiler chickens have
broken bones, deformed feet and legs or other skeletal defects.
According to the National Farmers Union, about 72 million birds
die in broiler houses every year - before they even reach the
For further information, please see www.viva.org.uk/campaigns/chickens/broiler.htm