Chickens are thinking, feeling animals who, like most
birds, love and care for their young and enjoy dustbathing,
nest-building and roosting in trees. They also form
friendships and a complex pecking order.
Yet every day in the UK 2.5 million chickens are cruelly
slaughtered for meat – that’s 30 deaths every second –
each one an individual, each one a life lost. But surely a
massacre of this magnitude would take an army to stop,
Only an army of one. You! Find
out how you can end suffering.
Most of the chickens killed for meat never see the
light of day. Their six week life is spent inside a
foul-smelling windowless shed with 30-40,000 other
chickens, each with only a space the size of an A4 sheet
of paper. They never feel sunlight or breathe fresh air –
until they’re crammed into a lorry and hauled off to the
slaughterhouse. Over 850 million chickens suffer this fate
every year in the UK.
Freaks of Nature
Selectively bred to reach ‘slaughter size’ in just 41
days, today’s chickens are killed when their eyes are
still blue and they ‘cheep’ – chicks in an obese adult
body. By the time they are slaughtered most of them are
crippled, their young bones unable to support their
distorted body weight.
Some lame birds die from starvation and dehydration as
they are unable to reach food and water. Millions more die
from heart and lung problems brought on by their rapid
growth. Over 80% of birds on supermarket shelves show evidence of hock burns, where their sensitive
skin has been scorched by the
ammonia-rich faeces covering the shed floor.
A Recipe for Disaster
The cramped conditions and accelerated growth rate on
modern farms have resulted in birds that are higher in fat
than protein – with a single chicken now containing one
pint of fat! The squalor inside the sheds allows germs to
spread like wildfire, with infected poultry the main
source for both Salmonella and Campylobacter food
poisoning. Antibiotics are routinely added to chicken feed
to try and combat these diseases, contributing to the new
wave of antibiotic-resistant superbugs wreaking havoc in
Find out more: Viva!'s broiler chicken factsheet.
A Bad Egg
Exhausted battery hens (egg laying hens) are also slaughtered
and processed into soups, stock cubes, 'convenience
foods' or used in the restaurant trade. Around 30
million male chicks (who are too skinny for meat) are
killed every year in the UK by being gassed or thrown
alive into electric mincers. Their crime? They are the
wrong sex to lay eggs.
Find out more: Viva!'s egg factsheet.
Viva! Vegetarians International Voice
8 York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol BS2 8QH, UK
T: 0117 944 1000 F: 0117 924 4646 E: firstname.lastname@example.org