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The Cruelty of Chicken Farming


An In-Depth Look at One of the World’s Most Abused Animals

For millions of chickens every year, their lives will end just as brutally as they began. Having become the most widely consumed meat in the world, they are exploited by the cruel meat and egg industry and seen as nothing more than highly profitable products.

Chickens are forced into a world devoid of compassion, where they will live short lives in confinement and face potential disease, deformity, and abuse. These abuses and horrific conditions remain hidden from the public eye by one of the most secretive industries in operation today.

Despite this, our investigators have managed to penetrate their defenses globally in an attempt to uncover the truth and shed light on these remarkable and social creatures and the pain they endure.

Our ongoing investigations have revealed an incredible amount of suffering and neglect, unsanitary living conditions, and multiple health and safety violations. Our footage documents birds fighting to survive without receiving any veterinary care and being slaughtered illegally at meat markets. We’ve exposed birds whose necks are broken for being too small and weak to be profitable and birds struggling to breathe in toxic environments filled with ammonia.

But the meat industry is not the only industry responsible for the suffering of chickens and hens. A major part of that suffering occurs in the egg industry, where hens are forced to live in such tight confinement that they engage in unnatural behaviors like self-mutilation and cannibalism. Because of this, a portion of their sensitive beak will be seared off without the use of painkillers.

And it doesn’t end there for these birds. Their suffering begins even as babies. In the egg industry, male chicks are unprofitable and deemed worthless. They face the horrific practice of chick culling, where they are either suffocated to death or ground up alive.

When our investigations are released, they can’t be ignored. And as the public becomes more informed, there is a growing demand for regulations that improve animal welfare. Through our continued legal advocacy, corporate campaigns, and education, we demand protection for the world’s most neglected animals.

Thanks to your support, Animal Equality has improved the lives of 20 million hens per year by obtaining dozens of cage-free commitments from corporations. We’ve worked with a coalition of other organizations to obtain 1.4 million signatures calling on the European Commission to ban cages for all animals, including chickens. This initiative will ban cages entirely by 2027 and impact 300 million animals every year across the European Union.

While we work to prevent farmed animal abuse and neglect, we also fight against deceptive advertising to consumers. Many companies advertise meat products using images of happy animals living outside and terms like “free-range,” “natural,” and “humane”. We’ve brought legal challenges against corporations like Tyson Foods for false animal welfare and sustainability claims.

These victories are progress toward protecting all farmed animals. And we will continue to fight for the lives of chickens by conducting investigations and revealing the truth about the meat and egg industry and its exploitation of animals for food.

Animal Equality Investigations Into Chicken Farming

Cruelty Violations in ‘Humane’ US Hatchery

In December 2021, Animal Equality released an investigation of Foster Farms, one of the largest chicken producers in the US and a supplier to Chick-fil-A. Despite being one of the first farms to be American Humane Certified, we found chicks suffering from preventable injuries and prolonged deaths, violations of California’s animal cruelty laws.

Forced Molting in Mexico

In July 2021, Animal Equality released an investigation into the cruel practice of forced molting in Jalisco, Mexico. This unregulated practice of starvation is extremely cruel and causes many health concerns like weight and feather loss, leg deformities, increased stress, and aggression.

Hens Confined on ‘Certified’ Egg Farm

In the UK, Animal Equality made multiple visits to Kinswood Eggs in West Sussex between June-September 2020. Kinswood eggs is a certified egg farm claiming that their eggs come from “happy, healthy hens.” Investigations revealed hens living in tight confinement left to suffer brutal conditions.

Cruelty Exposed on German Chicken Farm

In December of 2020, Animal Equality released undercover footage of abuse at a German chicken farm used by the country’s largest chicken supplier, Wiesenhof.

India’s Chicken Production Violates Welfare Rules

Animal Equality conducted multiple investigations into chicken farming in India, revealing various animal welfare and food safety violations. Birds delivered to meat markets are often left in cages for days without food and water, developing infections and diseases. There is no health inspection of the birds before slaughter.

India’s Egg Industry

Animal Equality’s investigation into one of India’s egg farms in 2019 revealed hens forced to live in cages of up to 8 hens per cage despite The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals act. Here, their natural instincts have been stripped away, and many will suffer from disease and illness.

Life on Germany’s Chicken Farms

Animal Equality investigation footage from Germany reveals the journey of chickens in the meat industry. These animals endure violence and extreme suffering only to be sent to slaughter 42 days later.

Three UK Chicken Farms

This footage is from an investigation released in 2019 by Animal Equality into the largest chicken suppliers in the UK operating in 2 story chicken sheds housing 30,000 birds on each floor with many birds struggling to survive. These farms are owned by the company that supplies Tesco, McDonald’s, and Sansbury’s.

Inside India’s Cruel Chicken Industry

Animal Equality’s multiple investigations into India’s chicken farming reveal inhumane practices commonly used across the industry. These investigations show chickens being illegally and brutally killed at meat markets in unsanitary conditions.

Abuse Found at Known McDonald’s Supplier

Released in August of 2020, Animal Equality investigation into the UK’s largest chicken producer and known supplier to McDonald’s revealed multiple recurring animal welfare concerns. We’re calling for McDonald’s to join its competitors and join the The Better Chicken Commitment.

Support Our Global Investigations

If you want to help support our investigators and their continued fight against cruelty to farmed animals worldwide, now is the time! If you make a donation today, your gift will be matched by a generous donor for a limited time. Additionally, if you decide to make a monthly donation, the amount you give will be matched for an entire year! For instance, if you donate $20 to Animal Equality monthly, we will receive an extra $20 for 12 months, or an additional $240, thanks to the donor’s match.