But the more than 9 billion chickens raised on factory farms each year in the U.S. never have the chance to do anything that is natural to them.4 They will never even meet their parents, let alone be raised by them. They will never take dust baths, feel the sun on their backs, breathe fresh air, roost in trees, or build nests.
Chickens raised for their flesh, called broilers by the chicken industry, spend their entire lives in filthy sheds with tens of thousands of other birds, where intense crowding and confinement lead to outbreaks of disease. They are bred and drugged to grow so large so quickly that their legs and organs cant keep up, making heart attacks, organ failure, and crippling leg deformities common. Many become crippled under their own weight and eventually die because they cant reach the water nozzles. When they are only 6 or 7 weeks old, they are crammed into cages and trucked to slaughter.
Birds exploited for their eggs, called laying hens by the industry, are crammed together in wire cages where they dont even have enough room to spread a single wing. The cages are stacked on top of each other, and the excrement from chickens in the higher cages constantly falls on those below. The birds have part of their sensitive beaks cut off so that they wont peck each other as a result of the frustration created by the unnatural confinement. After their bodies are exhausted and their production drops, they are shipped to slaughter, generally to be turned into chicken soup or cat or dog food because their flesh is too bruised and battered to be used for much else.Eating Chickens Is Bad for Your Health
Because the male chicks of egg-laying breeder hens are unable to lay eggs and are not bred to produce excessive flesh for the meat industry, they are killed. Every year, more than 100 million of these young birds are ground up alive or tossed into bags to suffocate.
Chickens are slammed into small crates and trucked to the slaughterhouse through all weather extremes. Hundreds of millions suffer from broken wings and legs from rough handling, and millions die from the stress of the journey.
At the slaughterhouse, their legs are snapped into shackles, their throats are cut, and they are immersed in scalding hot water to remove their feathers. Because they have no federal legal protection (birds are exempt from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act), most are still conscious when their throats are cut open, and many are literally scalded to death in the feather-removal tanks after missing the throat cutter.