Study Reveals Cruelty of Chicken Farming, Claims Green Party

NEW ZEALAND - The Green Party is calling for changes to the Animal Welfare Act to end cruel farming practices, including factory farming chickens for meat.
calendar icon 9 October 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

A Ministry of Primary Industries report released yesterday surveying 20 chicken farms revealed stark facts about chicken meat production:

  • Thirty per cent of the birds were found to have such bad leg problems that they affected their ability to move around, in some cases meaning they are unable to walk at all.
  • The total mortality rates before the birds reached slaughter weight were found to be 2.65 per cent - which equates to more than two million chickens each year. Of those, 65 per cent were birds found dead, 9.2 per cent were culled for leg problems and 25.9 per cent were culled for other problems.
  • Problems described include joint infections, twisted legs, kinky back, and femoral head necrosis.
  • None of the farms surveyed provided the chickens with any behavioural enrichment devices.
  • All of the farms’ feed contained antibiotics.

"This report shines a spotlight on the harsh reality of factory farmed chicken meat," said Green Party animal welfare spokesperson Mojo Mathers.

"It is appalling that a third of chickens are unable to walk properly. Such a high level of suffering is totally unacceptable.

"Raising chickens for meat in these conditions cannot be considered humane by any use of the word.

"We need to see an end to factory farming that ignores the most basic requirements of animal welfare and move to ethical food production systems that focus on giving an animal a decent life while it is being reared and humane slaughter.

"The report highlights the urgent and ethical imperative to close the loopholes in the Animal Welfare Act that allow the keeping of animals in such cruel conditions.

"The routine use of antibiotics is also highly concerning, especially given the growth of antibiotic resistant superbugs around the world.

"The chicken industry have claimed that they only use antibiotics when recommended by a vet, but the routine use in feed revealed in this report puts that claim in doubt."

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