The Suffering and Slaughter Behind Those Wings and Nuggets

Humans, not nature, have engineered a domestic species – the chicken – from its wild counterpart in a way that so grotesquely robs them of all of the richness and complexity of their tropical rainforest lives and at the same time renders their bodies lethally obese within weeks of birth. Through genetic engineering, grotesque feeding methods, and massive doses of hormones, today’s chickens look nothing like they did a generation ago.

These gentle, clever birds are raised to be slaughtered at six to seven weeks old. Before they are sent to their gruesome deaths, they are grabbed by their legs and stuffed into crates packed so tight, they are forced to squat in their own waste for hours and even days. Most are sent on their way with fractured wings and legs, bruises, and open wounds.

In open trucks they ride, with no protection from the extremes of cold, heat, wind, rain and ice. Denied food and water, many of them arrive dead from heart failure, hypothermia, dehydration, starvation and heat stroke.

Once at their destination, the chickens who survived the journey are stuffed, head-first and fully conscious, into a metal cone called a “kill cone.” Pulled through the bottom opening, the chickens’ throats are slashed or their heads hacked off with an axe. Thrashing about in agony, the chickens soon – but not immediately – suffocate in their own blood. When you see a packaged chicken marked “humanely raised” in the grocery store, reflect upon this: the chicken industry calls the savage process of murder by kill cone, “humane.”

Chickens are naturally friendly, loving animals. They love to cuddle and bond with humans, care deeply for their young, enjoy taking dust baths to keep clean, and are among the smartest of birds. How is it then that we can love parakeets, cockatoos, and other pet birds who live in our homes while visiting such suffering and violence upon their cousins? Humans have an amazing tolerance for even the most unspeakable cruelty as long as it is results in batter-dipped body parts in a cardboard bucket.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video about Sally, a beautiful and sweet hen who came from a Chicago slaughterhouse and who is now, thanks to her brave rescuers, living out her life at Georgia’s Place Bird Sanctuary. Some images are graphic, but the story will touch your heart.

Peace to all of the animals with whom we share this planet.