Imagine Having 50,000 Roommates
December 6, 2019
What if I told you that for the rest of your life you will be forced to live in a subway car packed full of people. Each day, you all grow fatter and fatter, making it even harder to move around the car. The stench of human waste burns your eyes and throat. You are provided food, but it’s the same meal every day, and each day it becomes more difficult to reach because of the crowd who is growing bigger and bigger. Your body aches in pain and your heart and lungs feel as if they will fail you any minute now. People are falling ill and dropping dead all around you as there are no doctors in your car. Above all that, it’s dim and you have no idea how long you will be there or what comes next. Well, your life would still be better than the average chicken who is raised for meat.
NO ROOM TO MOVE: This day and age, chickens used for meat are crammed by the tens of thousands in giant, dimly lit sheds. This lack of adequate space leads to a number of welfare issues by limiting a chickens ability to move around freely and exhibit natural behaviors. Overcrowding makes it nearly impossible to maintain good air and litter (substrate covering the floor) quality. Severe stress, pecking, and even cannibalism are consequences for some living this way.
BREEDING GROUND FOR DISEASE: Overcrowding leads to other problems such as an increased occurrence of skin diseases and other infections. This study, published in Poultry Science, found that packing birds so tightly decreases overall size and health of the birds, and this negative effect is likely associated with decreased intestinal barrier function, meaning the barrier that prevents the passage of harmful foreign substances, microorganisms, and their toxins is compromised.¹
UNLIVABLE STANDARDS: The standards according to the National Chicken Council allows up to 8.5 pounds per square foot of space, or about 1 square foot per bird. The American Humane Association is only slightly better at up to 7 pounds per square foot per bird.
HOW WE’RE FIGHTING BACK: Animal Equality is working with a coalition of organizations to combat this issue by having it as one of the key components of the Better Chicken Commitment, a chicken welfare policy that now over 200 brands have adopted. In this policy, we are asking for the strictest standards in the U.S. that align with Global Animal Partnership (GAP). This small change can mean a world of difference for the welfare of chickens by giving them more room to move and breathe.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please join us in asking McDonald’s to adopt the Better Chicken Commitment by signing our petition at McChickenCruelty.com. You can also become an Animal Protector and take easy, online actions that can make a huge impact on the lives of animals used for food.
¹D Goo, J H Kim, H S Choi, G H Park, G P Han, D Y Kil, Effect of stocking density and sex on growth performance, meat quality, and intestinal barrier function in broiler chickens, Poultry Science, Volume 98, Issue 3, March 2019, Pages 1153–1160, https://doi.org/10.3382/ps/pey491
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