Industry facts about broiler chickens
1. Globally, 51.4 billion chickens are hatched, fattened and slaughtered at 42 days of age every year. The normal life span of a chicken is 10-15 years.
2. Chickens and turkeys combined account for 99% of land animals slaughtered for food in the United States.
3. Broiler chickens are arguably the most genetically manipulated of all animals, growing 65 times faster than normal, and the industry is constantly seeking to improve their growth rates.
4. Chickens are kept in huge, overcrowded coops with thousands of chickens on dirty, feces-filled floors that are typically cleaned only every 2 to 4 years. In this sense, "free range" is a meaningless term, since almost all chickens raised for meat are not caged.
5. The incidence of heart failure in chickens is at least 4.7%, attributed to genetic manipulation, but this number only covers chickens within 42 days of birth. The incidence of heart failure will increase in the coming weeks. Their baby-like hearts cannot keep up with their adult-sized bodies.
6. At least 12.5 billion chickens worldwide each year suffer from leg pain, including lameness, due to rapid growth.
7. "Ammonia burns" as well as respiratory illness and death are also common due to exposure to high concentrations of ammonia produced by large amounts of feces.
8. After six weeks, the chickens were cornered by "catchers" who appeared often in the dark and in the middle of the night, grabbed the frightened chickens by their feet, roughly stuffed them into crates and loaded them onto transport trucks with forklifts. In the process, they suffer broken legs and wings, lacerations, bleeding, dehydration, heatstroke, hypothermia and heart failure. Millions of people die before reaching the slaughterhouse.
9. Chicken crawlers, similar to giant street cleaners, were introduced in the 1990s. The six-tonne machines can suck up 7,000 birds an hour, their rubber finger-like protrusions placing them on a conveyor belt and forcing them into crates.
10. Chickens are stuffed in these crates and can spend up to 12 hours in extreme temperatures and weather conditions, without food and water, arriving at the slaughterhouse. Upon arrival, the chickens may remain in these crates for an additional 12 hours before being unloaded.
11. Chickens too sick or injured to enter the food supply were dumped alive in large mass graves.
12. In slaughterhouses, chickens are not stunned but instead shackled and dragged fully conscious through electrified water to paralyze their muscles so their feathers will fall off and they will be easier to leave after they die. .
13. Millions of chickens and turkeys had their throats cut and were scalded alive. In the scalding pool, the chickens screamed, kicked, and had their eyeballs popping out of their heads.
14. So-called "humane" alternatives to slaughter include "killing cones," decompression and gas chambers. Killing cones are the most barbaric and cruel form of killing imaginable. The chicken is stuffed head down into a long funnel. Their heads were pulled through a small opening, their necks were cut, and they struggled and screamed in pain, with blood flowing from their mouths.
15. Chickens and turkeys are slaughtered lame, sick, and in pain. They become infected with salmonella, campylobacter, E. coli and other bacteria that cause foodborne poisoning in people. Since poultry products are a major source of foodborne illness in humans, slaughtered chickens are soaked in toxic chemicals and eaten along with the meat due to filthy raising conditions.
16. In less than 60 years, the number of broiler chickens raised annually has increased by 1,400%, from 580 million in the 1950s to nearly 9 billion today. Even with their exploitation increasing so dramatically, chickens raised for meat still have virtually no rights or laws to protect them.
17. Now, chickens can be slaughtered at a rate of 140 per minute, and slaughterhouses can regulate themselves more, making them more efficient slaughtering machines with less government intervention than in the past.