The life of chickens in factory farms is heart breaking and inhumane. I really couldn’t believe what I saw when I discovered how they were bred and slaughtered. It’s not surprising to me the amount of heart attacks, strokes, cancers, type 2 diabetes and other chronic illnesses we are faced with by consuming chickens. I often do hear from people thinking chicken is the healthy meat but that is a myth. There isn’t a healthy meat.
I have written about the unhealthy aspects of consuming chickens in a previous blog, Is Eating Chicken Healthy?, so check there if interested in more information. Here I will share the process of how over 95% of chickens are raised and slaughtered in attempt to share the truth and raise awareness of the cruelty they face. Don’t be fooled by the marketing only meaningless phrase – “free-range”… That is a marketing gem for sure…
To give perspective on the number of chickens being farmed each year I often wondered this. Every Tuesday night for years about 10 of my softball teammates would go to the local sports bar after each game to eat wings, fries, and drink beer or another beverage of choice. I found myself doing math…there are 10 guys with each of us eating 15 wings on average (I probably averaged 20) so that added up to 150 wings equaling 37.5 chickens (wing and drumettes counted separately). That took 37+ chickens to feed a small group in a local bar on a week night. I wondered how many chickens it would take to supply each restaurant in the U.S. and it was so overwhelming I stopped hypothesizing…it had to be a lot and I just let it go…not wanting to give another thought about how these chickens were produced.
After I went plant-based over five years ago for overall health and athletic performance reasons I continued to educate myself about the powers of fueling and healing my body this way. Over time I continued to stumble on how meat, dairy, and fish were processed making it additionally harmful to eat and then I learned about the process for the animals. What I found was tragically alarming how we subject sentient beings to these inhumane conditions and life…then a horrific death. If these were puppies there would be outrage… I then reached a point where I wouldn’t consume anything from an animal even if science proved it was healthy to eat simply to spare the animals from the cruelty they endure. There isn’t science showing this so by not consuming animal products is a win for overall health and athletic performance, animal lives, and the planet.
- 50 billion chickens slaughtered each year…more than any other animal
- Weight of chicken in 1957 = 1.98 pounds
- Weight of chicken in 2005 = 9.26 pounds (4.7 times larger…what goes into them goes into humans…nuts!)
- Chickens can live to 10 years; 38-42 days in a factory farm yet they are larger than ever!
- Factory Farm conditions
- Approximately 40,000 chickens in some single shed units (cycled through every 6 weeks…)
- 17 chickens per square meter (take a good step each direction and that is the box they are in…17!)
- So large they can’t support their own weight (legs are not strong enough to stand)
- Sick or injured are killed each day (first thing they look for as workers enter each day)…after they have been decomposing and cannibalized…
- 4% die before they ever get to the slaughterhouse
- Observations from Harry Potter Star, Evanna Lynch, when visiting a factory farm:
- “I feel a bit sick”
- “It’s so unnatural, isn’t it?”
- “It’s not how the way animals are meant to live”
- “Oh! That poor chicken” as it is laying inured (burning from chemicals, too heavy to get up and helpless)
- “This poor little creature…she is just falling apart…”
- “She’s filthy, and I just don’t see how that could be seen as anything that you could eat.”
- “This is my nightmare…I can’t look at that…”
- “I just think there’s a reason that it’s all so secret, it’s all closed in, and they’re all crammed in together, it’s because nobody wants to see this, it shouldn’t exist.”
The Factory Farm Process [Graphic] (typical example…I had to delete several written bullets as it was just too graphic and sickening to me…if you want to see it you can watch the videos and I marked those that are ‘graphic.’)
- Chickens placed in farm shed
- Eat from raised platforms standing side-by-side with no room to move unless their legs give out from not being able to support own weight
- When their time is up at approximately six weeks they are thrown in crates for transport to the slaughterhouse
- From here they are either electrocuted or thrown in a gas chamber with both causing immense pain through the process
- They are processed and that means so many sick things…
- One aspect that just makes you shake your head is how the chickens go through a carcass soaking in cold water [Graphic] process for up to one hour before being packaged to export. Dr. Neal Barnard has called this, fecal soup, as they are soaking in their own feces which then ends up in the chicken packaging and worse yet, the chicken meat itself so it isn’t washable. So just think of that if you eat a chicken – there are feces in each bite…
Videos demonstrating this cruel existence
- The Truth About Chickens
- “They Do Not Want You To See This” – Chicken Farm Expose
- Fecal Soup: Poultry Slaughterhouse Procedures [Graphic]
- How slaughterhouses kill thousands of chickens an hour [Graphic]
There are alternatives
- Vegan Fried Chicken (VFC) Company (Matthew Glover & Adam Lyons – from the first two videos listed above)
- Started the company to spare animals and reduce suffering
- Chose chickens because they are the most abused animals (quantity)
- When Adam Lyons observed what was happening in the factory farm and witnessed dead chickens laying in the shed with the others, he said, “you don’t deserve this…” in a most heart-felt tone…. so sad
- After visiting the chicken farm in September 2020, they said, “we knew we had to do better” and three months later they launched VFC
- There are so many plant-based chicken alternatives. Eating whole-food plant based is the healthiest but processed options can help in transition and/or consumed occasionally. Here is a list of top companies in the plant-based meat industry where you may find options at your local grocery.
I think what Evanna stated is so powerful, “I just think there’s a reason that it’s all so secret, it’s all closed in, and they’re all crammed in together, it’s because nobody wants to see this, it shouldn’t exist.” Once we educate ourselves about these things we can make informed decisions. I am happy I discovered this information for myself and to help inform others about living a healthy lifestyle. In this case of not consuming chickens or any other animal product it enhances our overall health, athletic performance, animal lives and helps save the planet.
– Add Health to Your Life
Featured Blog Photo – the two live chickens were taken by me strolling the streets of Key West, FL. The several chickens on and in the smoker (from when I did this) are much larger factory farm chickens full of hormones and antibiotics to beef them up, keep them alive, maintain a long shelf life and get me sick…