Recent headlines about the possible export of chlorine-washed chicken from the United States to Britain have caused an uproar. And while Britain has vowed not to accept the trade deal, the headlines have left many wondering what exactly is chlorine-washed chicken?
At factory farms, tens of thousands of chickens are crammed into windowless sheds. To maximize profits, farmers breed the chickens to grow so quickly they often become immobilized under their own weight. This abuse results in debilitating pain, heart attacks, organ failure, and other severe health problems. Because they’re too large to stand or walk, the birds are forced to sit in their own waste. This turns factory farms into breeding grounds for disease.
Craig Watts, a former chicken farmer in North Carolina, told the Daily Mail:
The birds are too heavy to stand because they have been bred for breast meat and nothing else so they spend their lives squatting. They spend 95 percent of their time sitting on the litter, a mixture of pine shavings and fecal matter from that flock and prior flocks. Their flesh would rot and, when you have them crammed in so tight, they will walk over other birds if they want to get to the food or scratch the others and cause a wound.
These deplorable conditions cause chicken flesh to be contaminated with deadly pathogens. In fact, the USDA estimates that around 25 percent of cut-up chicken meat and about 50 percent of all ground chicken is contaminated with salmonella. Additionally, the USDA reported that 90 percent of defects discovered in chicken carcasses at slaughter plants involved "visible fecal contamination that was missed by company employees."
In an effort to remove this filth, slaughterhouse workers wash an estimated 97 percent of chicken meat with chlorine or other disinfectants.
Sadly, chickens are some of the most abused animals on the planet and make up 95 percent of the animals raised and killed for food in the U.S.
To make matters worse, not a single U.S. federal law provides protection to animals during their lives at factory farms. What’s more, the law that’s supposed to protect animals at slaughterhouses, the Humane Slaughter Act, doesn’t extend to birds, leaving chickens with virtually no protection from abuse.
A recent Mercy For Animals investigation of several Lilydale supplier farms in Canada exposed workers hitting, kicking, and throwing live birds; jamming them into overcrowded transport crates; running over them with forklifts; and ripping off their heads and legs.
While many worry about chlorine-washed meat, they should be disturbed by the way chickens are treated at factory farms.
Fortunately, we can help farmed animals by leaving them off our plates and switching to a sustainable, healthy, and compassionate vegan diet.
Click here to get started!
Click here for a list of mouthwatering chicken substitutes.