Did you know that chickens are the most farmed land animal in the world? Over one billion of them are raised for meat in the UK alone, every year. So how do these animals live before they reach our plates?
Meet the Franken-chicken. Modern meat chickens – the kind that become cheap chicken on a supermarket shelf – have been bred over many decades to grow very, very fast. 300% faster than they used to. Supermarkets have chosen to use practices which produce as much meat as possible, in the shortest possible time, at the expense of animal welfare. As a result: these animals suffer beyond belief. These unnatural birds are called Franken-Chickens.
Chickens can live for six or more years under natural conditions. However, farmers need the chickens to reach the target weight in just 5-6 weeks – meaning that these giant chickens you see are mere babies. Their poorly developed, premature bodies cannot handle the weight and they may simply collapse, lose the ability to walk or even drop dead. Their joints and limbs struggle to cope, and they can develop severe lameness, broken legs, and even suffer heart attacks. To illustrate just how fast they grow, imagine a 5 year old child weighing 150 kg.
Their quality of life can be so poor, that millions of them die in the UK each year before even reaching the slaughterhouse. Hidden cameras routinely capture the ‘checks’ that farmers perform, where they essentially look for lame chickens whose necks they will need to break – as they’re deemed ‘unprofitable.’
During their time on a factory farm they are crammed into barns so overcrowded they are barely able to move or stretch their wings. In fact, in their final weeks a typical supermarket chicken gets less space on average than an A4 sheet of paper in size. They can barely move in order to avoid heat, cold or dirt, which can lead to several diseases. And to make matters even worse, Franken-Chickens are made to live and sleep on their own waste which simply falls and covers the floor.
As social animals this environment is highly stressful, a source of misery and a source of pain as their skin is often riddled with chemical burns from constantly laying on their own urine.
Just like us, chickens can also feel emotions, such as pain and fear, so regularly suffer in these harsh conditions. They deserve to live free from suffering and to be able to exhibit natural behaviours. Dust bathing, fresh air, caring for their young.. this is not possible for a FrankenChicken. Can they count on you to fight for them?
We are calling on British supermarkets to sign the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC). The BCC is a global animal welfare initiative created by scientists & animal protection NGOs such as the RSPCA. In a nutshell, it ensures that companies like Tesco, Co-op and Morrisons begin addressing these cruel practices with meaningful change.
Chickens raised to BCC standards are slower growing, meaning they have a better chance at living free from suffering. They are given significantly more room to live in. And they experience many other improvements to their way of life. A company adopting this commitment will need to do so for their entire chicken supply chain by 2026.
Stand against this cruelty by signing and sharing the petition by clicking HERE!