The Factory Chicken Farming Industry

Essay by beejay12354College, UndergraduateA-, December 2009

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When most Americans think of chicken farming they think of people in overall jeans throwing seed for chickens that are roaming freely about their sunny farm living happy chicken lives. That is exactly what the commercial food industry wants us to believe and they try very hard to keep that image. The truth is Farming has evolved into an assembly line factory system at the expense of living creatures. According to Mercy for Animals, an organization that aims to stop animal cruelty, nearly 10 billion chickens are hatched for food industry needs every year. Anyone who has ever had a pet understands that animals have personalities. They have likes and dislikes, as well as feelings of joy or boredom. Karl Franzen, chicken farmer, says in an article entitled “flock behavior” “Chickens are very compatible with human beings, and inspire affection and love. If it can be said that cats and goldfish can act positively on the health of the pet owner, than certainly it can be said of the chicken ”.

Yet these 10 billion chickens are treated as if they were raw food materials not worthy of a decent life.

Factory farms use chickens for two things, meat and eggs. Chickens that are raised for meat are taken from their mothers as soon as they hatch and are thrown on conveyor belts. On their way down the conveyor belts the new borns are given necessary vaccinations. They then have one third of their beaks cut off to deter them from pecking each other in close quarters. The chicks are then thrown in boxes and shipped to their respective farmers. The farmers then pack them into silos by the thousands, giving each chicken half of a square foot each. The silos are dark to keep the chickens calm and the air inside is barely breathable. The chicken is then given a diet that is engineered to make them produce more meat faster. They grow so fast in fact that their bones and often their organs cannot keep up; which makes them unable to take more than a step without having to sit back down. Mercy for animals explains,” Pushed beyond their biological limits, hundreds of millions of chickens die every year before reaching slaughter weight”. On their sixth week of life they are crammed into cages that prohibit them from lifting their head or even stretching one wing. These cages are then stacked on trucks and driven to the nearest slaughterhouse unprotected from the elements. When the chickens arrive at the slaughter house they are shackled upside down and conveyed through a throat cutter, which often misses. After most of their throats are cut they are submerged in boiling water, dead or alive, to removed their feathers. Then they have their feet and heads removed and are packaged and shipped to your local supermarket.

Chickens that are raised for eggs suffer a similar fate. They are also thrown on conveyor belts but the first step on this roller coaster ride from hell is the sex determination station. Where females are placed on a conveyor belt to get their shots and males are put on a conveyor belt to get ground up or gassed with carbon monoxide. The females are then packed in tiny crates that restrict any movements and are stacked on top of each other. They do not get cleaned dispite the fact that chickens are covered in the excrement of the birds above them. When the chickens reach the age that they stop producing eggs they are packed on a truck for a slaughter house to be used in soups or pet food because they are usually too bruised and battered to be sold as a normal meat chicken.

The fast food industry has created a need for factory farms because it requires a lot of consistent food to meet the needs of Americans, who don’t know any better. They don’t know any better because there are laws in place to hide the truth about where our food comes from.

“under the guise of protecting their states against "eco-terrorism," a number of anti-environmental and pro-agribusiness legislators have passed and/or are considering legislation making it illegal for animal rights activists to uncover and protest animal abuse at corporate-run factory farms…Those who donate money to groups that sponsor peaceful civil disobedience could also be guilty of ecological terrorism“, according to animal rights activist Bill Berkowitz. The chicken industry is an abomination to animal rights and rather than protecting us government officials protect the factory farm industry for personal profits. “A lobbyist for Tyson Foods, the nation's largest poultry producer, was convicted in Federal court today(1997) of twice lying to investigators about providing favors to Mike Espy, the former Agriculture Secretary…Investigators say the favors included $1,009 in air travel and a $1,200 scholarship for Ms. Dempsey, as well as tickets for a National Football League playoff game”, as stated in a new York times article entitled “Tyson lobbyist guilty of lying in epsy case”. There is a veil deliberately placed over the eyes of consumers so that companies can continue exploiting animals and humans for more corporate profits.

Factory farms harm the environment in many ways. The feed used by factory farmers is grown with a lot of insecticides. Also as stated by Consumer Union, “The unchecked growth of factory farms-and their resulting mountains of untreated livestock manure-are fouling drinking water and causing a public health risk in Texas and at least 29 other states according to a new report released today”. Factory farms are destroying the environment around them while soiling American drinking water and poisoning near by farm crops.

The factory chicken industry is the epitome of animal cruelty and government corruption for the exploitation of Americans. Farming has completely changed right under the noses of Americans, thanks to lobbyists keeping us from the truth. Animals are denied anything remotely resembling a natural life and Americans are force fed food grown in terrible conditions that are full of terrible drugs and hormones.

Uncontrolled Factory Farm Manure Causes Pollution and Threatens Health, According to Comprehensive New ReportReggie James Lobbyist Guilty Of Lying in Espy CasePublished: Saturday, March 22, 1997 Farm Activists Under Fireby Bill BerkowitzDissident VoiceJune 7, 2003 Behavior--Karl Franzen & Lyn "Zobin" Stafford