In the US, we raise more than eight billion chickens for meat every year. The overwhelming majority of these birds are raised on factory farms, which, on average, each confine about 166,000 chickens at any given time, or roughly 900,000 chickens over the course of a year. As one might imagine, when thousands of chickens are kept in overcrowded buildings without sunlight, access to the outdoors or space to move freely, the health and wellbeing of the birds is severely compromised. These facilities also generate a tremendous volume of waste, which often pollutes air, soil and waterways, while the routine use of antibiotics for growth promotion and disease prevention threatens human health by inducing the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Meanwhile, the farmers who own these factory farms are often caught in abusive contracts with the giant poultry corporations that dominate the market, making it very difficult for the farmers to transition to more sustainable production practices.
Most consumers wouldn’t want to buy chicken raised in this factory farm system – and supermarket owners know it. Yet rather than pressuring their suppliers to implement better production practices, supermarkets attempt to hide the grim reality from consumers by marketing factory farmed chicken as “natural” and “humanely raised,” but there’s nothing natural or humane about raising chickens in industrial production facilities.
As part of our monthly series of Meatrix actions, we’ve partnered with Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) to offer consumers a way to make a difference. Throughout November, we’re highlighting CIWF’s Better Chicken Initiative, which calls on consumers to send a message to the CEOs of Target, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Publix and Kroger urging the stores to stop selling factory farmed chicken and instead source more humanely raised chicken certified by a third-party auditor.
Join us in taking action on the Meatrix website!