It's time to stand up for chickens
Viva!USA’s most recent investigations brought us face to face with the intelligent birds who make up over 9 billion of the 10 billion land animals killed for food every year in the United States.
Every day, 23 million chickens are killed in the U.S. for food--that’s 269 deaths per second!
We have to stand up for these mistreated birds and take action!
Because this industry is so huge, we took almost a year to collect information and video footage. We traveled to countless chicken sheds in both the winter and summer. We saw literally thousands upon thousands of birds. But despite these vast numbers, it's important to remember one thing: each of these birds is a feeling individual who has endured unspeakable suffering on these farms.
What does a typical chicken farm look like? Your first view is row after row of industrial sheds---there were 27 sheds at one facility we visited. Most people would never imagine ...that these innocuous, sometimes windowless buildings hold living beings, but the sad truth is that each one contains thousands of birds in crowded, filthy conditions. When we opened these sheds on a cold winter day, we were startled by the oppressive heat and smell inside. Only a few small lights broke the darkness, and a combination of dust and feathers filled the air. In some places, conditions were so bad it was hard to take photographs—or even see.
What we could see was horrific. Dead birds littered the floors of the sheds, some looking as if they had been trampled or crushed.
Little chicks without feathers had unnatural bulges growing out of their bodies and many appeared sick or injured as they stumbled around. In other sheds, many of the larger birds were unable to walk because they had succumbed to the weight of their bodies. Modern chickens have been bred to be unnaturally heavy. We saw many whose legs wouldn’t support their enormous body weight. Legs sprawled beneath them, they stared around with eyes full of confusion and fear. It’s a sight that has still not faded from our memory even now.
We also traveled to the slaughterhouses of some of the largest corporations that sell these chickens. Using cranes, they lift a number of cages full of chickens at a time from the transport trucks. Although short lived, it is the first time these curious animals have ever felt open air or seen outside their miserable sheds.
These slaughterhouses turn curious little birds into meat that people eat and as these beautiful creatures are killed, the air fills with a smell that turns your stomach. Not surprisingly, at almost every slaughterhouse we saw chickens who were attempting to escape. But there is total disregard for these animals who want so desperately to live and at the end of the line, dumpsters are filled with chicken feet recently removed from the birds, none of whom are able to run away.
What haunts us the most, however, is the sheer number of birds killed in these horrible places. Most of us have a hard time visualizing a thousand of anything—much less a million or, in this case, 9 billion deaths every 12 months! The California Poultry Federation estimates that Californians alone consume 30 chickens each per year!
That is why Viva!USA is doing our best to get people to take a minute to think about the number of chickens killed for food in the United States and the dreadful conditions in which they face life and death.
We are asking activists to converge on a public clock in their town and distribute literature asking ordinary people to take a minute or two to think of the animals killed at such an alarming rate. Flyers can also be handed out at grocery stores and the message is simple: If consumers change their diet, they can help end this suffering.
What you can do: