Recently the new advert by KFC came across our radar. The advert glamourises the life of a chicken to the soundtrack of the DMX hit song 'X going to give it to ya'. We're going to be honest the advert irritated us as it glamourised the life a KFC chicken all of which spend their entire 6 weeks lives in factory farms.
Serendipitously around the same time we received an email from Toni Shephard, UK Executive Director of Animal Equality telling us about their new investigation into Faccenda - the UK's second largest chicken company.
What they found over their two month investigation on a West Country chicken farm was shocking. At the farm more than 150,000 birds are housed in four giant sheds in crowded, barren conditions to end up on shelves and menus of retailers such as Nando’s, Lidl and Asda.
Distressing scenes captured on the farm include:
Hundreds of dead chicks being dumped every day for several days, including one who was thrown into a wheelbarrow alive with dozens of dead bodies and left for at least an hour.
A worker kicking birds during daily checks inside the sheds; collecting ill birds and breaking their necks, with some still alive and flapping their wings as he carried them around.
Lame birds in obvious discomfort attempting to walk; birds on their backs slowly dying because they are unable to stand and reach water and birds with red, raw sores from the filthy ammonia-soaked litter underfoot.
Workers violently catching and crating birds for transport to the slaughterhouse, including carrying birds by one leg in violation of Defra’s welfare code.
These chickens may not have been destined for the deep fried KFC buckets but across the UK factory farming standards are universally terrible. Animal Equality have reported their findings to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) for investigation. But experience tells us that little will be done to change the practices of farms like these.
A Simpler Choice
Eating chicken is almost the default choice for so many of us growing up. It is widely available, relatively cheap and fits the common perception of what constitutes a hearty meal. The reality is modern breeds of chicken have been selectively bred to enable them to gain weight fast. This maximises profit for the companies involved but leads to a mortality rate of 3-5%. The truth is that it's cheaper for factory farms to let these birds suffer than to improve their living conditions.
Making the choice not to eat chicken can seem like a big one as it is so culturally ingrained in our society. However doing so will have a transformative impact on your life. Great campaigns like Meat Free Monday's and Veganuary offer different pathways to moving away from eating chicken.
In London the likes of Temple Of Hackney and Club Mexicana have been developing tasty plant-based chicken alternatives. Try them we promise you won't regret it.