Chickens raised for meat live and die under horrifically cruel conditions. At typical factory farms, they are crammed by the tens of thousands into dark, windowless sheds where floors are often covered with excrement-soaked litter and the air is acrid with ammonia. They are purposely bred to grow so large, so quickly they often collapse under their own weight or die from painful heart attacks or organ failure. Many birds are in so much pain they are unable to walk even a few feet to access food and water. And when they are only a few weeks old—still babies, really—chickens are violently thrown into transport trucks bound for the slaughterhouse. There, they are shackled upside down and painfully shocked with electricity before their throats are cut open, often while the birds are still fully conscious and able to feel pain.
Given the severity of these conditions and practices and the resulting suffering of literally billions of chickens annually—nearly 9 billion are slaughtered in the U.S. alone —it is critically important that food companies and restaurant chains commit to banning some of the worst factory farm cruelty from their supply chains.
In the past two weeks, Kraft Heinz and Barilla, two major consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, have made such commitments, and they’re not alone. During the past two months, many of the world’s leading CPG companies have announced similar commitments, including Nestlé, Unilever, General Mills, and Campbell. While abhorrent that any company’s suppliers raise and slaughter animals for meat, we pragmatically recognize that so long as companies have animals in their supply chains, they should adopt policies that meaningfully reduce animal suffering.
Consumers are making their voices heard and telling companies that animal cruelty is unacceptable, and their concerns drive much of this reform. Companies that ignore consumer concerns about animal suffering will be left behind economically and culturally and face an ever-growing backlash from consumers and animal protection organizations.
One such failing company is Chili’s. Despite pledges by dozens of its industry peers and overwhelming consumer demand, Chili’s has still not issued a public commitment to banning unconscionable abuse for the chickens raised and slaughtered for its restaurants.
Demand that Chili’s act on this urgent issue—sign our petition.
Of course, the best way for individual consumers to prevent suffering for chickens and other farmed animals is simply to leave them off their plates. Check out these nine fascinating facts that will change how you see chickens.