Ever since the late 1950′s after radio and television marketing kicked into full swing there has been a need for chicken eggs and meat.
Since that time, chicken meat consumption has increased drastically after brands like Kentucky Friend Chicken introduced their “special” recipe.
Now after trial and error, combined with the advancement of modern technology and breakthroughs in genetic modification–breeding programs and slaughter productivity has been increased drastically. In fact, a bird which grows two or three times faster a “normal chicken and converts its food into meat in a much more efficient way. Most are raised under intensive systems and reach slaughter weight at 5-7 weeks of age. As a consequence the price of chicken meat has declined and consumption has risen several fold.”, according to a recent report by April McCarthy.
McCarthy went on writing about the shocking growth patterns:
Over 50 years ago it took 98 days for a chicken to grow to 1.6kg. By 1986, due to selective breeding, it only took 37 days. Baby birds, who still chirp and have soft feathers, have the bodies of adult birds. This unnatural growth rate puts enormous pressure on the heart and immature skeleton and is the cause of many health problems.
Extreme selection pressure for large breast muscles has further distorted the anatomy of these animals and puts great pressure on their developing legs. They often therefore crouch down with their large breast on the floor of the shed. This frequent contact with the floor of the shed may lead to painful ulceration of the skin known as breast blister.
Lameness caused by dislocation of joints and bone fractures are major and unavoidable consequence of selective breeding for increased growth rates. Many birds are unable to walk or even stand up well, resulting in “hockburn” as they waddle around in the damp ammonia-soaked litter. Skin problems are exacerbated by the progressive build up of moisture and droppings in the litter. Around 2% of birds die in the sheds from illness, trauma and starvation when they are unable to reach food and water, or are trampled by other birds.
While all of this might come as a shock to some, far more grotesque procedures are carried out on our food supply daily.
And for those with a weak stomach, here is a taste of how your grocery store chicken is defeathered:
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