About chickens bred for meat
Around 120 million chickens are slaughtered every year in New Zealand, and approximately two million die or are culled in the sheds during the six-week rearing process. This makes chickens the most commonly consumed land animal.
Chickens bred for meat, (called ‘broilers’ by the industry), have probably the worst lives of any farmed animal and as the number of individuals involved is so high, this means huge animal suffering.
Bred to suffer
The breeds used commercially in New Zealand have been selectively bred to grow abnormally fast. This causes the chickens significant suffering as their bodies can’t keep up.
Crammed into chicken sheds
Around 40,000 chickens are crammed into each dimly-lit shed. As they grow, they have less space to move and the air becomes laced with ammonia, as does the litter they lie on.
Chicken companies use labels on their packaging such as ‘cage free’ and ‘no added hormones’. No chickens are kept in cages or fed hormones, but producers do use antibiotics. These labels are designed to mislead.
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Grabbed at night and crammed into boxes
The methods used when clearing the shed to take birds to the slaughterhouse can cause panic. Birds can suffocate and die. The chickens are crammed into plastic boxes and travel to the slaughterhouse on the back of a truck.
Slaughtered in fear
The methods used for chicken slaughter in New Zealand are stressful, they cause fear and can be very painful. The effectiveness of stunning is questionable and there are other methods used overseas that cause less suffering.
Free-range chickens still suffer
There is an increase in so-called ‘free-range’ chicken production. Sadly, life is little better for the chickens in industrial free-range’, as the same fast-growing breeds are used and tens of thousands are birds are in each shed.
Making life better for chickens
Overseas, over 500 companies have committed to making life better for chickens, by providing more space, better living conditions and using slower-growing birds.
The Better Chicken Commitment is a set of much higher standards that make a real difference to the lives of chickens.