Liberation Photography - Animal Rights Photos by Noah Hannibal

The Chicken Meat Industry

Crippled, sick and dying birds

These photos were taken over a one year period as part of an investigation at a modern broiler farm. 'Broilers' are where chickens are raised to be killed for their meat. They are bred and drugged to grow as quickly as possible.

As newborn chicks they are crammed by the tens of thousands into giant sheds. The sheds are thick with ammonia fumes and the baby birds spend their entire short lives living in their own waste.

Many die each day in these conditions. This is considered acceptable 'wastage' by the chicken meat industry. The dead birds are often not removed for days or even weeks, their corpses left to decompose or be cannibalised by the other birds.

The broiler babies grow so unnaturally large that when they are slaughtered at 45 days old not a single one of them can walk properly. Some have collapsed under their artificially enhanced weight. Unable to reach food and water, they die of starvation and dehydration.

Those that make it to the slaughterhouse are killed when they are the equivalent age of a two year old human baby - one that weighs 160kgs (350 pounds). As they are transported to slaughter, broiler chicken routinely suffer broken bones from being grabbed by their legs and violently stuffed or thrown into crates, or from being slammed into shackles upside-down at the abattoir.

Many birds are still conscious when their throats are slit and when they are dumped into tanks of scalding hot water to remove their feathers.

The Hidden World of Broiler Breeders -Does Your Nugget have a Mother?

Broiler breeders are the often forgotten parents of the chickens raised and killed for their meat.

Broiler breeders are only fed every other day to prohibit weight gain so they are still able to breed. They are continually hungry, frustrated, abused and suffering.

In these photos 22,000 hens and roosters are packed tightly in a dimly lit shed. They are confined and overcrowded in this shed for their entire lives - typically one year.

The hens are repeatedly mounted by roosters, and many get bleeding backs. Towards the end of the year of this investigation most of the hens had red raw backs and underbellies with feathers missing from their backs and from around the back of their heads. Roosters often hold on to the back of the hen's neck with their beaks when mating.

The air in the shed was filled with dirt and dust and the smell was overwhelming. At the end of the year long investigation the birds had become very debilitated and exhausted. Dead bodies were routinely found rotting inside the shed. Those that survive the year are killed and processed for blood and bone, stock cubes or pet food.

The fertilized eggs of the broiler breeding parent birds are removed daily from the shed and put into incubators for hatching. They never see their offspring who are whisked away once hatched to be 'grown' in huge industrial broiler production sheds (See the 'Crippled, sick and dying birds' slideshow above).

Some breeders further stress and torment these captive birds by using ‘spiking’ in their production routine. Spiking is the practice of killing all the roosters in the shed after 50 weeks of age and replacing them with younger, more agile, potent and aggressive males to maximise the hen’s declining egg production levels. The totally degraded and worn out hens are then killed after 15 weeks of being continually mated by the young roosters.

A worker at this broiler breeder stated on condition of anonymity, “the method they use to kill the huge roosters is very cruel as I have seen it first hand. They lay the rooster on the floor and put a broom handle across his neck and then stand either side with their feet on the broom handle and then pull the rooster by the legs until his neck breaks...”

These birds are the parents of today's KFC, McDonald's and supermarket chicken meat specials.

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