What is the most abused species of animal?
Is the worst animal abuse on earth the annual dolphin massacre in Taiji, Japan? Clubbing baby seals in Canada? Chinese fur farms? No, it's actually modern chicken agriculture.
|Cornish Cross Broilers|
The US alone produces over seven billion (that's billion, with a "B") meat chickens each year. The birds are raised indoors in confinement houses with tens of thousands in one building. The conditions are so poor that the birds have to be given antibiotics just to stay alive. 80% of antibiotics in the US are administered to livestock and poultry, not people, for this reason. Some birds can't cope with the freakishly rapid growth that has been painstakingly bred into them for decades and their heart and other internal organs just can't keep up. Birds that die this way are called "flips" and dozens are usually cleaned out of each house daily.
|Confinement Broiler House|
|Broiler Processing Plant|
The egg industry is no kinder. 97% of egg layers raised in the US are confined to battery cages where they only have 45 to 67 squares inches of space per bird. They spend a year is this small cage then are killed to make room for younger, more productive birds. These are the lucky ones who were born female. The males of the egg laying breeds are killed the day they hatch, most often by being thrown in mass into a high speed grinder while still alive.
|Battery Hen House|
This has been the state of modern chicken production ever since just after World War II and the rise of modern confinement agriculture. This system has perfected mass production at the lowest price by sacrificing the welfare of the chickens, as well as the nutrition and taste of the product.
What can we do? You can vote with your dollars. You can choose more ethical options. We will be discussing these options in our next post.