Yet Tesco continues to ignore their suffering.
“The perception of chickens [as unaware and unintelligent] is driven in part by the motivation to dismiss their intelligence and sensibilities because people eat them”.[i]
This statement by Lori Marino, from a BBC Earth article, sums up our attitudes towards chickens pretty well.
It has been known for years now that chickens (and birds in general) are much more intelligent than most of us believe. This video which explains just how intelligent chickens really are was made ten years ago
Aside from the fact that they have been shown to count, plan ahead and have long term memory, chickens also demonstrate complex behaviour and meaningful relationships with other chickens and even humans.
However there aren’t many people who would be comfortable with the thought that they had contributed towards the suffering of an animal (let alone hundreds). So when it comes to eating chickens, it is very convenient to go along with the perception that they do not feel pain, fear, lonliness or frustration like humans do.
But on some level we all know this is not the case. Anyone who lives with an animal of any kind will know that they need, and deserve, to be treated with compassion as much as we do ourselves, and when it comes to it, we willingly spend hundreds of pounds on vet’s bills to make sure they enjoy a healthy, happy life.
Why are we happy to eat chickens who have been selectively bred to grow at a rate so unnaturally fast, that they struggle to stand and walk?
So why is it that we condemn puppy farms, where dogs are left to live in their own excrement, yet don’t seem to mind that farmed chickens suffer ammonia burns from being left in theirs? And why is it that we are seeing efforts to reverse selective breeding in dogs, which is known to cause severe health problems, but are happy to eat chickens who have been selectively bred to grow at a rate so unnaturally fast, that they struggle to stand and walk?
The red jungle fowl is the bird from which all farmed chickens have been bred. Consider the fact that this wild bird weighs just one killogram when it is fully grown at 18 weeks of age. Now compare that with today’s broiler chickens, who weigh between 2 and 2.5 killograms when they are sent for slaughter at six weeks of age, and it becomes clear just how much strain we put on these bird’s bodies.
The answer to why we tolerate the suffering of billions of broiler chickens is that we have been told that they do not matter. But we at Open Cages are now saying enough is enough; chickens do suffer, and they do matter.
We cannot allow the systematic cruelty towards these birds to carry on. Tesco are still refusing to acknowledge the Stand With Chickens campaign, so we need your help more than ever to demand that they sign up to the European Chicken Commitment. This will help to alleviate some of the worst suffering endured by chickens on any farm which supplies Tesco, whether it’s in the UK or abroad.
You can sign the petition to Tesco here: https://tescocruelty.standwithchickens.org/ , e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org and call them on 0330 123 4055 to let them know that you think the way they source their chicken is unnaceptable.
Originally written by Catherine Reda.